KARACHI: Customs Today unearthed mega sales tax scam of Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd where the company in connivance with its agents, audit firms and some officials of Sindh Revenue Board evaded billions of rupees sales tax in terms of services provided to its local clients.
After extensive coverage of the issue by Customs Today, the Sindh Chief Secretary through diary no 29342 has asked the Sindh Revenue Board to probe the issue and take action against Maersk Pakistan within 15 days.
According to the application ref#164/CIJ/10/2018 sent on 27-10-18 appealed to take legal action, recoveries of amounts looted, recovering losses of tens of billions of rupees to the national exchequer per year while also stopping such further losses in the biggest mega scam of sales tax on services fraud from the accused persons SØREN SKOU, CLAUS V. HEMMINGSEN, SØREN TOFT, VINCENT CLERCP, MORTEN H. ENGELSTOFT, others of Maersk Line; 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; audit firms and other shipping companies of Pakistan, some officials of Sindh Revenue Board involved in the mega scam directly or in connivance with the same.
As per application, the nexus of some Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) staff and shipping lines like Maersk Line along with its agent Maersk Pakistan Private Limited, including its owners, managers, staff as mentioned in the subject are making illegal money through malpractice and defrauding the Sindh Revenue Board of tens of billions of rupees by not paying Sales Tax on services offered at the rate of 13% (evidence documents regarding its applicability attached and also details given on SRB website). Shipping company agent Maersk Pakistan Private Limited is providing shipping and other services in Pakistan to various importers and exporters. Therefore, they are liable to pay service tax to SRB at the rate of 13% as per SRB Notification No. 3-4/20/2017. As per the attached documents the Commissioner II of the Sindh Revenue Board was bound by the Notification No. 3-4/20/2017 to collect sales tax on services from the shipping lines as mentioned in point 15 of the table which is also available on the official website of Sindh Revenue Board http://www.srb.gos.pk/contents/Notifications/SRB-3-4.20.2017.PDF”
“The subject accused have gone so far in their criminal activities that it can be found that Maersk Pakistan Private Limited is issuing ‘benaami’ bills without sales tax numbers, without publishing its own name on the bills and giving its sales tax numbers. This is clear violation of the laws to cause losses of billions of rupees and evade the applicable provincial sales tax on the services offered,” the application said.
According to the application, Maersk shipping line is issuing ‘benaami’ bills without sales tax numbers, without publishing its own name on the bills and giving its sales tax numbers. As per its modus operandi, Maersk sends emails in the name of Helen De Isidero to its clients whereas it is actually sent by Mr. Maqsud through Pakistan email ID email@example.com. Maersk Pakistan employees themselves claim that Helen works in their Manila office while the email is sent from Pakistan office.
Furthermore, all services are provided in Pakistan through Pakistan company M/s Maersk Pakistan Pvt. Ltd. but the company tries to show that services are provided by foreign company and their employees through using dummy names. When service provided in Pakistan by Pakistan office and Pakistan employees then how can sales tax on such service remain unpaid? This obviously is a fraud to evade huge sales tax liabilities.
The application said Sindh Revenue Board had detected this fraud but someone very senior called them and asked them not to proceed against Maersk Line. Commissioner II of the Sindh Revenue Board was bound by the Notification No. 3-4/20/2017 to collect sales tax on services from the shipping lines as mentioned in point 15 of the table which is also available on the official website of Sindh Revenue Board http://www.srb.gos.pk/contents/Notifications/SRB-3-4.20.2017.PDF
The application said, “The audit firms of Maersk Pakistan Private Limited are also equally partners and supporters in crime as their audit report shows that all the accounts are clear and do not highlight about this major sales tax evasion. In fact it seems that they have shown them the way how to evade the sales tax by issuing ‘benami’ bills without sales tax numbers as mentioned above”.
“When complaints are made to Sindh Revenue Board then they do not take action against the subject accused which is mandatory under provisions of law. The nexus of subject accused have made these active provisions of law entirely redundant and they should be severely punished for the same,” the application added.
The application said, “It is prayed that legal action be taken against the subject accused persons, amounts looted by them be recovered, losses suffered by national exchequer to the tune of tens of billions of rupees per year be recovered from them and further losses be stopped immediately”.