KARACHI: Business community asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to take action in a mega mis-declaration scam by M/s Al-Aswed Associates and M/s Facilities Shipping Agency with active connivance of Sohail Shams of M/s United Marine Agencies (UMA), an agent of shipping line KMTC. Business community also sought arrest of UMA CEO Sohail Shams and high-ups of UMA, shipping agent of KMTC as they are alleged to be directly involved in this huge scam of clearing 930 consignments through mis-declarations, causing heavy loss to the national exchequer. Customs Today played crucial role to expose these culprits through its investigative reports on misuse of yellow and green channel facilities at Karachi ports.
Sources told in a similar case of mis-declaration, Customs Court granted pre-arrest interim bail to suspect Umair Nawaz son of Rab Nawaz, director of M/s Facilities Shipping Agency, but bigwigs like Sohail Shams and other senior officials of UMA, shipping agent of KMTC did not care to even take any bail although UMA has been named in multiple FIRs of the mega scam. They are openly supporting the following accused persons and companies to mis-declare goods and evade government’s legitimate revenue. Question arises here that if these officials are not arrested by Customs, how could it be possible to ascertain their role in this scam of clearance of 930 consignments through mis-declarations?
According to details, Collectorate of Appraisement East led by Collector Nadeem Memon registered two FIRs against M/s Al-Aswed Associates and others who attempted to clear restricted goods through mis-declaration with active connivance of Sohail Shams of M/s United Marine Agencies (UMA), an agent of shipping line KMTC.
Sohail Shams CEO UMA
According to FIRs, M/s Al Aswed Associates imported consignments declared to contain “shippers load, count & seal (300 bales) Cy/Cy used cloth” weighing 20,000 kgs, manifested to have been shipped from Ningbo, China. The information further revealed that the importers in active connivance with their clearing agents and other accomplices mis-declared the description, quantity, origin and classification of the imported goods by submitting false, fake and fabricated information to evade legitimate government revenue. The examination of the subject consignments found the goods to be polyester plane pile fabric in rolls and velvet prayer mats instead of declared used clothing. Total customs value of the consignment ascertained as US$108,392 or Rs 17,234,328 and total duties and taxes worked out as Rs 10,606,694.82. In the second consignment velvet prayer mats of assorted color & design packed in bales approx. weighing 12200 kgs with total customs value of US$42700 and duties and taxes of Rs 4,707,157.
The Collectorate lodged FIRs against Imran Haroon of M/s Al-Aswed Associates, clearing agent Qaiser Abbas, Muhammad Idrees, Muhammad Ali, Muhammad Ahsan and others and started further investigation. Preliminary inquiry revealed that M/s United Marine Agencies of Sohail Shams filed Import General Manifest (IGM) of this consignment with incorrect information and committed a fraud by issuing false bill of lading by mentioning incorrect description of the goods.
Customs Today has been extensively reporting about blackmailing of UMA, shipping agent of KMTC and demanding additional demurrage and detention charges from importers. Even importers filed various 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 the same UMA, shipping agent of KMTC is alleged by customs department to be involved in mis-declarations and tax evasions once again. Collector Appraisement East Nadeem Memon has already directed the staff to properly examine every imported consignment of used clothing to stop revenue leakages through mis-declarations. It is hoped Collector Nadeem Memon will not take any pressure of big groups like UMA and KMTC, adding that he will include names of UMA officials in the list of accused persons to start investigations against them as well to ascertain their role in the above-mentioned mega scam of mis-declarations.
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 Idrees and Imran Khan s/o Saifur Rahman from Central Jail Karachi. These suspects were in the custody of the customs court for evading taxes and duties to the tune of Rs74,036,216.
According to the interim charge sheet submitted in customs court against Imran owner of M/s Al-Aswed Associates, Muhammad Irfan of M/s ERA Marine Agencies, Ihtishaam and Muhammad Idress of M/s SHUFS Logistics, Muhammad Ali, Muhammad Ahsan, Muzamil and others, information was received that above-mentioned accused actually imported a consignment of used clothing 16600 kgs falsely showing POL as United Kingdom contrary to actual port of loading Jabel Ali, UAE.
Now business community once against appealed to the NAB to take action against Sohail Shams of UMA, shipping agent of KMTC and their top management and arrest them to stop huge loss to the national exchequer and recover the tens of billions of rupees looted.