KARACHI: DP World stocks may plummet if its Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, CEO Junaid Zamir and GM Cyrus Khursigara get arrested in criminal case lodged against them in Pakistan. DP World controlled QICT terminal in Pakistan is allegedly involved in multi-billion dollars demurrage scam case where they blackmailed and harassed genuine importers to pay illegal charges for clearance of their consignments. Now National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has expedited such criminal cases against DP World / QICT where importers have asked the NAB to intervene in the issue and arrest its Chairman Sultan bin Sulayem, CEO Junaid Zameer, GM Cyrus Khursigara and alleged benaami owner Habibullah Khan for recovering the looted amount and giving relief in demurrage and free time to traders.
Bloomberg reported on Feb 28, 2020 about possible delisting of DP World from Nasdaq, saying Dubai will take its port operator private after a dozen years to alleviate its debt burden and avoid a repeat of the economic crisis that forced a bailout in 2009. Its strategy “is not fully appreciated by the equity markets,” which has weighed on the share performance.
According to Bloomberg, Moody’s Investors Service Inc. and Fitch Ratings Inc. both placed DP World under review for a possible downgrade, with Moody’s saying “the transaction will weaken overall credit profile of the DP World”. The emirate will pay a 29% premium to acquire the 19.55% of DP World listed on Nasdaq Dubai. Dubai has received commitments from a group of 10 banks for $9 billion in loans to take full control of port operator DP World DPW.DI and refinance debt of state investment vehicle Dubai World, reported Reuters. A group of 10 banks, including Citi and Deutsche, signed commitments that covered and oversubscribed the $9 billion debt deal. The other eight banks are Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO, Credit Agricole CAGR.PA, Emirates NBD ENBD.DU, First Abu Dhabi Bank FAB.AD, HSBC HSBA.L, JPMorgan JPM.N, Samba Financial Group 1090.SE and Standard Chartered STAN.L. The transaction involves a $3 billion five-year loan, with the rest of the financing comprising shorter-term debt, Reuters reported. The debt transaction is one of the few deals keeping investment bankers busy in the Gulf as the global coronavirus outbreak slams the brakes on capital markets activity.
Meanwhile, in Pakistan, DP World / QICT is allegedly involved in multi-billion dollars demurrage scam case where they blackmailed and harassed genuine importers to pay illegal charges for clearance of their consignments. The port terminals like DP World / QICT are not allowed to collect any demurrage and detention amounts from the importers when the importers provide “delay and detention certificate” under section 14-A of the Customs Act, 1969. Despite this the port terminal blackmails the importers to collect hundreds of thousands of rupees per single consignment in connivance with the concerned Government officials, Port Qasim Authority (PQA), Karachi Port Trust (KPT), Ministry of Maritime and others.
It is pertinent to mention that the NAB received a complaint with subject: save Pakistan from nefarious designs of Indians to blacklist our nation in FATF using their front men and holding company in DP World / QICT Pakistan Limited while also necessary legal action, recoveries of amounts looted and arresting the accused to set an example, recovering losses of millions/billions of dollars of foreign exchange per year while also stopping such further losses in the biggest mega scam of foreign remittances, recovering losses of more than Rs 400 billion from officials of port terminals like DP World / Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) in terms of looting the nation under the garb of demurrage and detention, non-payment of hundreds of billions of sales tax to Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) and also looting foreign exchange of Pakistan to the tune of millions of dollars annually and Khalid Mehmood & others of Sindh Revenue Board (SRB), Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, 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, Matthew 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, Mohammed Al Mannaei, Omar Al Muhairi, Cyrus R Khursigara, Shahid Iqbal, Uzair Qureshi, Fasih Haider, Faraz Aziz, Abdul Aleem Mirza, Saad Zulfiqar, others of QICT Pakistan Limited & DP World Group (holding 75% shares of QICT Pakistan Limited).
As per the complaint received by the NAB, the accused persons of QICT Pakistan Ltd. in connivance with the staff of Port Qasim Authority (PQA) have done qabza (illegal encroachment) of land adjacent to the land allowed to QICT Pakistan Ltd. vide the Implementation Agreement signed by Port Qasim Authority (PQA) with QICT Pakistan Ltd. This illegal encroachment also includes additional berth length that was not allowed under the Implementation Agreement (IA). Besides, even till date, major stakes of QICT Pakistan Limited (75%) is held by foreign company DP World which was handed through back door illegal means without any approval of Ministry of Interior (MoI). SECP and other agencies of Pakistan have failed to stop QICT Pakistan Limited from operations despite the above gross illegalities and irregularities putting the national interests at serious threat due to their operations at a very strategic location of Pakistan.
The complaint further said the QICT accused persons are illegally remitting abroad millions or even Billions of US Dollars of foreign exchange through bank channels by hoodwinking the regulatory bodies such as State Bank of Pakistan or its agency for the matter the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) or the other Agencies of Pakistan like FIA, NAB, etc. who have jurisdiction for the matter. The income of the subject accused persons is local in nature generated by companies of Pakistan while such companies are held illegally by foreign companies without approval and also local income is misdeclared as foreign income to pay some nominal taxes and subsequently such locally generated income be illegally remitted abroad. Thus, they are draining out our National economy of the much needed foreign exchange on one hand and on the other hand they are working on the nefarious designs to get Pakistan into blacklist of FATF by displaying that the foreign exchange regulations of Pakistan are vulnerable in nature.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) also reacted to the claims of terminal operators that they would suffer loss if charges are waived, and dubbed their claims as untrue. FPCCI president Mian Anjum Nisar urged the private terminal operators to be sensible and act upon the government advice of extending free demurrages and detention period amid the Covid-19 crisis. Answering a question about importers complaints against terminal operators, Nisar said that this is a fact that private terminal operators are defying the government’s orders. “This is not the right time to think of profits only but to face the calamity collectively,” he stated.
FPCCI Vice President Khurran Aijaz said international trade had almost shut down and there were no export shipments from Pakistan. He said that thousands of import containers were lying at ports, and the importers could not get these released, as there was no transportation, while the markets and warehouses had been locked down. “The importers are already suffering due to closure of markets, declining value of rupee, and these additional charges by terminal operators and shipping lines,” the FPCCI vice president said.
Similarly, Karachi Customs Agents Association (KCAA) General Secretary Muhammad Aamir in a letter dated 30th March requested to waive port demurrage/storage charges on the humanitarian grounds in the wake of ongoing lockdown situation in the country due to outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19). “In the best interest of trade and to support our dear motherland’s economy in these critical times, the competent authorities of Ports/Terminal Operators are requested to please grant maximum waiver of port demurrage on Humanitarian Grounds for the period of lockdown,” the letter issued by KCAA said. But importers who are facing severe financial crunch due to closure of markets, they are demanding total waiver of demurrage and detention charges and further extension in free time at ports till complete normalcy returns to Pakistan.
The Friends of Business & Economic Reforms has also blasted the terminal authorities at Karachi Seaport for rejecting the recommendations of the FBR to extend the free period of 15 days at terminals for charging demurrage, in line with the lockdown extension in the country, appealing to the prime minister to intervene and pass directives in this regard. FEBR President Kashif Anwar stated that at a time when federal as well as the provincial governments are endeavoring to facilitate the business community on account of the lockdown the terminal authorities at ports have flatly refused the proposals of Revenue Division, Government of Pakistan (FBR) which is sheer violation of the PM’s directives to facilitate the businesses. He said the authorities’ target is just profit and revenue generation even in the time of worldwide pandemic and grave financial crisis. The each and every department all around the country are struggling to provide maximum facilities to the industry but the terminal authorities is not ready to cooperate in this regard and this matter should be brought to the notice of Prime Minister of Pakistan.
In line with section 14 A of the Customs Act 1969, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs reportedly decided to waive port demurrages and extend free time at ports in a meeting with the FPCCI but the companies like DP World / QICT are not implementing the decisions to waive demurrage and give extra free time, instead they are using this crisis time as an opportunity to mint illegal money for themselves.
After so much coverage by Customs Today about alleged mega criminal scams of DP World / QICT with Chairman Sultan bin Sulayem, CEO Junaid Zameer, GM Cyrus Khursigara and benaami owner Habibullah including illegally taking scanning fees, demanding extra demurrage and detention charges and misusing green and yellow channels, NAB has taken up the criminal case against DP World / QICT. Now the NAB has expedited such criminal cases against DP World / QICT where importers have asked the NAB to intervene in the issue and arrest its Chairman Sultan bin Sulayem, CEO Junaid Zameer, GM Cyrus Khursigara and alleged benaami owner Habibullah Khan for recovering the looted amount and giving relief in demurrage and free time to traders.