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Biggest ever Sales Tax fraud: NAB asked to recover billions from Maersk Pakistan

Biggest ever Sales Tax fraud: NAB asked to recover billions from Maersk Pakistan

KARACHI: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is asked to intervene and investigate the biggest sales tax fraud of M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd to recover billions of rupees ‘evaded’ money as the company is not cooperating with the Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) for audit. Commissioner Operations Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) Mohammad Amir said audit of M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd is still under process but unfortunately the company is not providing the data to the Board.

Talking exclusively with Customs Today, Amir said that the SRB is carefully conducting audit of M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and every paper is being scrutinized from all angles. “We are asking them to provide complete record but unfortunately Maersk Pakistan is not cooperating with us in this regard and using delaying tactics in provision of necessary and required documents. Due to this non-cooperation, we are still unable to complete the audit,” he added.

Replying a query about total tax deposits by Maersk Pakistan, Amir said we are scrutinizing the whole record of the company and it will take some time to reach any conclusion. He assured that if M/s Maersk Pakistan found involved in tax evasion, stern action will be taken against the company and the evaded amount along with penalty will be recovered.

Commissioner Amir said that according to SRO 2017, all shipping companies are bound to pay 13% of sales tax out of their total income and if any company is not following the pattern then action will be taken against it.

Mohammad Amir said we are aware that some channels are also breaking the news that M/s Maersk Pakistan is issuing invoices without mentioning number to evade sales tax. He said that after these headlines, the Sindh Revenue Board decided to start audit of the shipping line from its registration in Pakistan.

It is pertinent to mention here that Maersk Pakistan shipping line has evaded billions of rupees sales tax in terms of services provided to its local clients whereby Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) of Pakistan has appealed to the NAB to intervene and investigate this mega scandal of Maersk Pakistan because the company is not cooperating with the SRB to complete its audit.

The NAB should have attached bank accounts of the company before starting its audit as demanded by Member of Multan Chamber of Commerce and President Multan Anjuman Tajiran Sheikh Muhammad Javed Akhtar. He further said the company’s operational services should be suspended for clearance of the outstanding amount.

It is failure of tax machinery that some shipping companies like M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd are not paying their real taxes to government and involved in sales tax evasion of billions. Pakistan’s biggest-ever sales tax fraud amount in billions exposed by Customs Today should be properly probed for the recovery of robbed amount to support national economy and concerned departments must take stern action against alleged tax evader M/s Maersk Pakistan to reinstate confidence on government tax enforcement system, he added.

Meanwhile, All Pakistan Bed Sheets & Hosiery Manufacturing Association Chairman (APBHMA) Syed Mohammad Asim Shah while talking to Customs Today said that mega tax evasion by M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd showed inefficiency of tax department as this huge sales tax evasion will put burden on the business community. He said that alleged sales tax evasion is a criminal act of Maersk Pakistan and tax machinery should take stern action against them as per law. It was also negligence from the tax department that they did not conduct a forensic audit of M/s Maersk Pakistan for the last six years and they allegedly ignored their practice of tax fraud which caused huge loss to the economy.

Due to negligence of the SRB, the NAB should take action against the Maersk Pakistan to recover billions of rupees looted money. The NAB already received a complaint seeking probe to ascertain role of employees of Maersk Line in country’s biggest shipping scandal.

The complaint received by the NAB demanded legal action for recoveries of amounts looted and recovering losses to the national exchequer per year while also stopping such further losses from the accused persons of Maersk Line and M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd including Søren Skou, Claus V. Hemmingsen, Søren Toft, Vincent Clercp, Morten H. Engelstoft, others of Maersk Line and Arslan Khan, Hazanfar 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.