KARACHI: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in its Regional Board Meeting (RBM) has authorised inquiry to ascertain role of 65 officials of QICT and M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd in country’s biggest Ports & shipping scandal involving 610 billion rupees.
As per the complaint received by the NAB, the nexus of some Customs staff, port terminals like QICT along with its parent company DP World, Port Qasim and shipping lines like Maersk Line along with its agent Maersk Pakistan Private Limited, including its owners, managers & staff are making illegal money through malpractice.
Reportedly, some directors of holding company of QICT Pakistan Limited are Indians who have been handling Indian Ports in the past like Rizwan Sultanali Soomar who is an Indian national and now Chairman & Director of M/s DP World Karachi has been head of APM Terminals investments in India, also served as Director of Gujrat Pipavav Port Limited, India and also served as Managing Director of Maersk Line India & Sri Lanka. Also Devang Mankodi, an Indian national, is Director of DP World Karachi and he has served as Director of Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal India and also worked in Logistics Company in India. This implies that QICT Port of Pakistan is controlled by Indians. Ports are highly sensitive and strategic assets of Pakistan which cannot be given in the hands of nationals of hostile countries.
Sources said illegal appointment of Indians at Pakistan’s strategic sea port Qasim International Containers Terminal (QICT) without the Ministry of Interior’s (MOI) clearance could pose security threat to the country. Indians are spying on the QICT as it is controlled by M/s DP World Group with 75% shares and, many of the management staff and directors of board are Indian nationals. Through such a discreet control of the QICT, Indians could achieve their alleged nefarious activities to destroy peace and stability in Pakistan.
The complaint received by the NAB demanded legal action for recoveries of amounts looted and recovering losses of Rs. 610 billion to the national exchequer per year while also stopping such further losses from the accused persons of these companies including Søren Skou, Claus V. Hemmingsen, Søren Toft, Vincent Clercp, Morten H. Engelstoft, others of Maersk Line; Arslan Khan, Gazanfar Khan, Raheel Salim, Maqsood Ul Hasan Khan, Fuad Khan, Hasan Faraz, Shakeel Masih, Omer Khan, Ali Jawad Alvi, Zafar Iqbal, Ayesha Chowdhry, Zahid Hussain, Salman Ahmad, Aamir Ali, Umais Aziz Khan, Mohammed Naeem, Farheen Mahmud, Mubasshar Iqbal, Affaq Syed, Syed Mohammad Abbas Jafri, Muhammad Tanveer Sharif, Salman Ateeq, Hamza Haq, Ziad Mahboob, Aamir Ibrahim, Yasir Saeed Khan, Amal Sadiq Dawood, Effat Mehmood, Maria Urooj, Zain Warsi, Mehreen Zulfiqar, Awais Saleem, Zafar Iqbal, Syed Osman Iqbal Zaidi, Anum Yaqub, Fahad Ali, Obaid Iqbal, Zahid Hussain, Muhammad Ali Qureshi, Danish Siddiqui, Amir Arif, Arshad Ayub, Syed Mudassir Ali, Syed Hammad Hussain, Ayesha Qadri, Sheikh Samiullah, others of M/S Maersk Pakistan Private Limited; Yuvraj Narayan, Deepak Parekh, Robert Woods, Abdulla Ghobash, Mark Russell, Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Nadya Abdulla Kamali, Mohammed Al Muallem, Suhail Al Banna, Rizwan Soomar, Mathew Leech, Abdulla Bin Damithan, Devang Mankodi, Rashid Abdulla, Mohammad Al Hashimy, Habibullah Khan, Nusrat Khan, Aly Khan, Junaid Zamir, Changaz Hassan Niazi, Farhan Mithani, Masoud Noori, Mohammad Al Mannaei, Omer Al Mohairi, Cyrus R Khursigara, Shahid Iqbal, Uzair Qureshi, Fasih Haider, Faraz Aziz, Abdul Aleem Mirza, Saad Zulfiqar and others of DP World/ QICT Ltd.
Sources also confirmed that Aruna Hussain, new CEO of Maersk Pakistan, would also be included in the inquiry process by the NAB. She has taken the charge sometime back but the company has not amended its alleged illegal activities under her supervision so the NAB could also summon her in this mega shipping scam case.
The complaint said, “Firstly, customs department delays goods of majority of containers that arrive in red channel. 80% of the goods cleared in red channel take a duration which is more than the free days provided by the port terminals. Hence, the port terminals take huge amounts from the importers on each consignment thus delayed. These shipping lines also force the importers to pay huge illegal sums. All these three: the customs staff, port terminals, shipping lines as mentioned above delay the clearance and delivery of the goods to the importer. Due to this delay, the revenue collection of duty and taxes is slowed down drastically of the actual speed. Like where these goods were to be cleared and delivered in 2 days then it takes an average of 20 days to clear and deliver.”
The complaint received by the NAB said, “The total revenue collection by customs department is Rs. 610 billion. If the process of revenue collection is not slowed down by the above-mentioned parties then at least the revenue collections could be doubled. Hence, total loss to national exchequer due to above nexus and illegal acts of the subject accused is Rs. 610 billion”.
“The terminal ports and shipping lines are not allowed to collect any demurrage and detention amounts from the importer when the importer provides ‘delay and detention certificate’ under section 14A of the Customs Act, 1969. Despite this, the port terminals and shipping lines blackmail and harass the importer to collect hundreds of thousands of rupees per single consignment. Since this is illegal money demanded from the citizens of Pakistan and hence it can be termed as an ‘extortion’ amount,” the complaint said.
The complaint said, furthermore, under rules 603 (Q), 603 (R), 604 (Q) and 607 (E), others of SRO 1220 (I)/2015, the shipping lines cannot charge any demurrage or detention charges where it is not specifically written on the B/L. But still in violation of these rules and laws, the shipping lines fearlessly hold the containers of the importers and charge them exorbitant detention charges. These detention charges even exceed the actual cost of container by a whopping 1,000%!
“The shipping lines charges only 30% of its cost from the importer to allure importer to give his containers to them. All remaining 70% of cost and huge profits are made through illegal means and black money. Like China-Pak cost of shipment for a 40HQ container is charged USD 300 whereas the actual cost to the shipping company is USD 1,000. Pak-China freight is almost USD 0 to USD 10 which is even more surprising. When white income of these shipping lines is only 30% of their cost then it is obvious that they are indulging in many illegal and black activities to cover cost and also make huge profits,” the complaint said.
Søren Skou and Claus V. Hemmingsen
“When complaints are made to Customs department then they do not take action against the accused which is mandatory under sections 156 (1) 7A of the Customs Act, 1969 and also rules 603 (Q), 603 (R), 604 (Q) and 607 (E), others of SRO 1220 (I)/2015. The nexus of some Customs officials, Maersk Line and DP World /QICT Ltd has made these active provisions of law entirely redundant and they should be severely punished for the same,” the complaint said.
The complaint demanded from the NAB to take legal action against the subject accused persons, recover amounts looted by them, recover losses suffered by national exchequer to the tune of Rs. 610 billion per year and stop further losses.