Karachi: The Directorate of Intelligence & Investigations-Customs, Karachi has lodged a First Information Report (FIR) against 12 importers and their agents for allegedly laundering money through illegal channels and evading customs duties and taxes by claiming false exemptions.

According to the FIR, the information was passed by Director Engineer Habib Ahmed to Additional Deputy Commissioner Afzaal Wattoo, that some unscrupulous importers were trying to avoid paying foreign exchange to the foreign shippers by wrongly claiming the exemption of duties and taxes under Chapter 99 of the Pakistan Customs Tariff (PCT).

Chapter 99 is a special provision that allows the import of goods without payment of duties and taxes in certain cases, such as relief goods, diplomatic goods, personal baggage, etc. However, the importers misused this provision to bypass the mandatory requirement of Electronic Import Form (EIF), which is a document that shows the amount of foreign exchange that will be remitted to the foreign shipper through legal banking channels.

A team led by Assistant Commissioner Saud Hasan and comprising Appraising Officers Hafiz Mirza and Asad Shabbir identified 40 Goods Declarations (GDs) filed by 12 different importers in which they had availed the exemption of Chapter 99 and had not submitted the EIF to Customs for clearance of the respective goods.

The FIR stated that the importers and their clearing agents had failed to discharge their duty of true declaration under Section 79 of the Customs Act, 1969, and had committed mis-declaration in terms of Section 32 and 32A of the Customs Act, 1969. These 12 importers had cumulatively transferred $1.69 million to their foreign shippers through illegal means, such as hawala or hundi.

The Directorate of Intelligence & Investigations-Customs, Karachi has reasons to believe that the 12 importers, with the support of their accomplices, are involved in the offence of money laundering, as defined in the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010. The FIR further stated that the importers and their clearing agents had deployed their proceeds of crimes and ill-begotten gains to avoid the necessary requirement of EIF in a planned and organized manner, and had cleared their consignments without any penal consequences.

The investigation in the matter is underway to ascertain other aspects of money laundering, including but not limited to those that may have arisen in the aftermath of customs clearance, and to identify other collaborators and colluders in the matter.

Director General I&I Faiz Ahmed has issued directives that the accused be arrested and prosecuted as per law.

The accused include:

·      M/s Uffan Traders

·      M/s Ayaz enterprise

·      M/s AM Associates

·      M/s Jelani Enterprises

·      M/s Skyelectric Pvt Ltd

·      M/s Saspak Cargo

·      M/s RA Engineering

·      M/s Nadeem Associates

·      M/s Medifulx Services

·      M/s Awan & Agha Associates

·      M/s Med Vision International

·      M/s Millenium Steel

·      M/s C&F Solutions

·      M/s Mix Trade Enterprises

·      M/s 3 Star Enterprises

·      M/s Vista Impex

·      M/s Aliz International

·      M/s Humayun Dental Supplies

·      M/s Elahi Enterprises

·      M/s Salman Corporation