KARACHI: Inquiry against Habibullah Khan, alleged owner of the Qasim International Containers Terminal (QICT), Junaid Zameer, Aruna Hussain and other 65 officials of QICT and Maersk, in country’s biggest ports and shipping scandal, is reportedly facing delay and these officials are said to have claimed hiding Rs 610 billion worth NAB files.
According to details, the inquiry was approved by the NAB’s Executive Board meeting held under the Chairmanship of Justice (r) Javed Iqbal in Islamabad where five inquiries were approved including inquiries against Habibullah Khan of Qasim International Containers Terminal (QICT) & others, M/s United Energy Group Limited, M/s Pakistan Petroleum Limited, M/s Millat Tractors and officers of NTDC in early November 2019. The meeting was attended by Deputy Chairman NAB, Prosecutor General Accountability NAB, DG Operations NAB, DG NAB Rawalpindi and other senior officials. But inquiry against these officials and companies has been delayed as Habibullah and other high-ups are said to have claimed hiding Rs 610 billion worth NAB files. After approval in the Executive Board Meeting, experts say that files of such high-profile cases should have been moved to Karachi for further inquiry and investigation but it seems there is no progress in the above-mentioned cases after passing 4 months period due to unknown reasons. Based on the circumstances and even otherwise, the QICT and Maersk officials are said to have claimed using their influence to hide the files so as to delay the inquiry of the cases against them. They are allegedly bleeding the national exchequer and genuine importers with such tactics and destroying the business activities at Karachi ports by demanding extra demurrage and detention charges.
On the other hand, credibility of NAB Chairman Justice Javed Iqbal and DG NAB Karachi Najaf Quli Mirza is out of question as they are out there strongly and steadfastly to end the menace of corruption from the country. So the alleged statement of Habibullah, Junaid, Aruna and other accused cannot be believed that anyone could stop or disrupt the investigation process of the NAB. Because the Bureau takes ahead work on every case on the merit basis so there remains no ambiguity about credibility of the NAB under chairmanship of Justice Javed Iqbal. Everybody expects that keeping up to his excellent reputation of ‘Accountability For All’, the NAB Chairman will not succumb to the favours and pressures of the influential and take these multi-billion dollars scam cases to the logical end. The NAB Chairman has earned laurels by adopting best practices towards making Pakistan a corruption-free country. NAB does not believe in political revenge and neither does it want to be involved in politics. Its job is to eliminate corruption from the country. NAB as an institution is trying to take every step possible to eliminate corruption. Pakistan is role model for SAARC countries due to its proactive and effective Awareness, Prevention and Enforcement of Anti-Corruption Strategy and the measures taken by the present management of NAB. NAB has become a vibrant and reputable organization. Reports and Surveys of different reputable national and international organizations like PILDAT, Mishal Pakistan, World Economic Forum and Gallup and Gilani recent survey in which 59 percent people have shown their confidence on NAB’s performance, testifies people’s confidence and trust over NAB’s performance across the board as per law. Honorable Justice Mr. Javed Iqbal, Chairman NAB has reiterated his firm resolve to eradicate corruption from country with iron hands for corruption free Pakistan.
Similarly, DG NAB Karachi Najaf Quli Mirza has good reputation to work on mega cases with complete impartiality. He does not take any pressure and take the corruption cases to the logical end. He joined the top anti-corruption watchdog to quickly probe the multi-billion corruption scams by assisting the Combined Investigation Teams (CITs) engaged to file all 16 references by Jan 2020. He has taken up a number of big cases against top politicians and organizations of the country. Najaf also worked at Port Qasim for three years. He also served as the Additional DG FIA and now he is performing his duties in NAB as Director General.
The NAB received a complaint seeking probe to ascertain link of Habibullah Khan with Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT)/DP World in parking billions of rupees black money. In this complaint the NAB was asked to launch probe to ascertain role of 65 employees of QICT/DP World and a shipping company in country’s biggest shipping scandal involving 610 billion rupees. 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 Habibullah Khan, 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, Rashid Abdulla, Mohammad Al Hashimy, Junaid Zamir and others of DP World/ QICT Ltd. The accused persons of DP World/ QICT Ltd. are facing charges of more than 20 mega scam allegations against them.
The NAB Executive board under the chairmanship of Justice (r) Javed Iqbal had approved an inquiry against officials of QICT in country’s biggest ports and shipping scandal. Habibullah Khan QICT’s such alleged scams are reported extensively by Customs Today. After so much coverage by Customs Today about alleged mega scams of QICT with CEO Junaid Zameer including illegally taking scanning fees, demanding extra demurrage and detention charges and misusing green and yellow channels, the NAB Chairman took action against the company.
It is pertinent to mention that the NAB received a complaint with subject: Building dams by recovering losses of more than Rs 400 billion from officials of port terminals like QICT and shipping lines like Maersk Pakistan Pvt Ltd 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 further illegalities committed by them. The alleged nexus of some private port terminals like QICT along with its parent company DP World, Port Qasim and shipping line Maersk Pakistan and a few officials of the SRB are making illegal money through malpractice defrauding the SRB of hundreds of billions of rupees by not paying Sales Tax on services offered at the rate of 13%. A foreign shipping company’s agent Maersk Pakistan is reportedly 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. 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 SRB.
Furthermore, terminal ports like QICT and shipping line Maersk Pakistan 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 and the shipping line blackmail and harass 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. The shipping line Maersk Pakistan and terminal operator QICT are collecting local service charges from Pakistan customers and freely converting such Pakistan rupees to US Dollars and repatriating the same which tantamount to the gross abuse of the foreign exchange laws of Pakistan. This action is draining our nation of our valuable foreign reserves and causing our currency to nose dive, the complaint said. NAB had also taken the case against Maersk Pakistan as well and Aruna Hussain, new CEO of Maersk Pakistan, could 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.
Another 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.
Sultan Ahmed Sulyman
Sources said Maersk shipping line and its subsidiary in Pakistan, M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd are blackmailing importers through illegal holding & blocking of their imported goods for the sake of demanding additional demurrage and detention charges.
NAB authorised inquiries against QICT and Maersk in early November 2019 but the said allegations of the accused concerning the delay is worrying, while our entire nation is fully confident that NAB Chairman Justice (R) Javed Iqbal, keeping up to his excellent reputation, will not succumb to the favours and pressures of the influential while taking these inquiries to the logical end and recovering billions of rupees of looted money from these powerful companies.