KARACHI: Appraising Intelligence Branch (AIB) Customs House Karachi has lodged an FIR against M/s M.M. Trading Karachi and others who attempted to clear high tariff/restricted goods through mis-declaration with active connivance of Sohail Shams of M/s United Marine Agencies (UMA), an agent of shipping line KMTC. MCC East and Preventive also lodged FIRs recently against the UMA for attempting to smuggle high value goods under garb of used clothing.
According to FIR No 11, 2019, credible information was received in the AIB Section to the effect that M/s M.M. Trading Co Karachi would make an attempt to clear high tariff/banned goods under the guise of used clothing and worn articles. Accordingly a container bearing No SUDU-6784167 was retrieved from the Import General Manifest No. 297/2019, Index No 172, which was transhipped from Port Qasim to AICT and booked in the name of aforesaid importer. Strict vigil was kept but despite lapse of more than two months nobody has filed the goods declaration for clearance of the goods. Consequently the custodian of the goods M/s AICT was directed to arrange grounding and examination of the goods to counter check veracity of the information.
Thereafter detailed examination was conducted by the AIB staff and found that gross mis-declaration of contents as upon examination the goods comprising 51 refrigerators, 15 automatic washing machines, and furniture (valuing Rs 6.41 million) as against the importer declaration given in IGM/Bill of Lading to contain 79 packages STC old and used clothing and other worn items. The goods were re-stuffed into the container which was re-sealed with fresh AICT’s Seal No 1313621, Accordingly the consignment was seized under section 168 and 171 and notices were issued to the custodian M/s AICT.
Preliminary inquiry and information gathered from PRAL system and after going through the profile of the importer, it is observed that previously GDs were filed by customs agent M/s Ali Co. (CHAL#212) for clearance of goods mainly used clothing. Recently MCC Preventive Karachi has detected a similar case of smuggling of high value goods under garb of used clothing and lodged FIR no 471/2019 against M/s M.M. Trading wherein it was found that accused persons mentioned in this FIR were running a planned racket of smuggling in league with each other and facilitating the delivery of goods to the actual financers Imran Khan and Aslam Aini. Thereafter the same phenomenon was detected by the MCC East Karachi where M/s M.M. Trading attempted to clear high value goods under garb of used clothing and FIR no 09/2019 was lodged against the company.
Since the mastermind and collaborator were arrested and criminal proceedings were initiated, therefore, sensing the gravity of alertness by the customs, they refrained to file any GD now but circumstances and criminal evidence clearly establish their active connivance and repeated attempts to smuggle high tariff/ banned goods under garb of used clothing. The evidence also indicates that the goods were actually loaded from Jabel Ali UAE and the container purportedly was lying for several days at Jebel Ali port UAE. Thus shipping agency M/s United Marines was also instrumental in commission of the fraud.
Therefore the accused Mehmood Iqbal proprietor of M/s M.M. Trading, customs agent Qaiser Abbas proprietor of M/s Ali Co. and abettors Muhammad Ali, Muhammad Idrees, Muhammad Ahsan, Imran Khan, Aslam Alias Aini, owners/directors/partners of M/s United Marine Agencies (Pvt) Ltd and others have attempted to clear the impugned consignment with malafide intention and are guilty of offences under section 16, 32A, 32C 79(1),
Customs Today has been extensively reporting about blackmailing of UMA and KMTC for demanding additional demurrage and detention charges from importers. Even importers filed 13 applications to lodge FIRs against these shipping lines and their agents including CEO of United Marine Agencies Sohail Shams for demanding additional demurrage and detention charges from importers.
Now same agents and shipping company is found involved in mis-declarations and tax evasions again and again. Customs Today has been extensively reporting the green and yellow channel abuse in the country, after which the NAB came into action and decided to tighten the noose around green and yellow channel smugglers. National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has also taken action in similar cases of tax evasion through mis-declarations and taken custody of clearing agents Muhammad Idress s/o Yousaf, Muhammad Ali s/o Muhammad Idress and Imran Khan s/o Saifur Rahman from Central Jail Karachi.