ISLAMABAD: During a successful operation, Customs Intelligence and Investigation (I&I) seized smuggled goods worth Rs189 million from Karachi Export Processing Zone (KEPZ).
According to details, Director General Shaukat Ali had received information to the effect that standard/prime quality paper products were being smuggled from Karachi Export Processing Zone to tariff area under the garb of “recovered and upgraded items from waste/scrap”.
On tip-off, Customs Intelligence intercepted four trucks bearing registration no: LS-3273, JT-0898, K-2169 and JU-2980, loaded with 22 reels of various types of paper, near Mehran Highway. The goods were being imported into the tariff area by M/s. IAS Trading, Karachi (NTN No. 02-01-1338800) from M/s. United International Industries, KEPZ, vide GD No. KEPI-HC-1607, under the vague description of “recovered, upgraded color paper/sheets in various cut to sizes imported from rejects/waste/stock lot material”.
The staff of Customs Exports (Port Qasim) had confirmed the above-reproduced declaration during examination and had finalized the assessment under single value of $ 0.410/kg – total being US$ 19,800/-.
The fifth truck mentioned on the GD could not be intercepted along with the other four on the night of same day, despite hectic efforts. Detailed examination of the goods resulted into the recovery of standard/new reels of offset paper, carbonless paper and craft (bleach) paper instead of the aforesaid declaration. Preliminary investigations revealed that the fifth truck carrying the remaining goods was off loaded at a private godown situated at Plot No.25-A, Bhutto Nagar, Landhi Industrial Area, Karachi.
Accordingly, the godown was searched in terms of Section 162 of the Customs Act, 1969, which led to the recovery of huge quantities of various standard/new/prime quality products/items (such as multiple types coated and uncoated paper, BOPP and PVC film, plastic moulding compound, diapers etc).
Resultantly, Customs Port Muhammad Bin Qasim, the importer and the godown owner were asked to provide copies of all GDs filed for import of goods from KEPZ to tariff area as well as evidence of their entry into the godown.
Furthermore, KEPZ Authority was requested to provide import/ export record/ profile of M/s. United International Industries (exporter of goods in KEPZ) and the list of machinery installed in the unit. All the letters and subsequent reminders remained largely un-responded except one reply received from M/s. IAS Trading, Karachi (importer in tariff area) where under copies of random eighty four (84) GDs filed during the period 2013-18 in relation to the recovered goods were provided.
However, the above-mentioned eighty four (84) GDs were found irrelevant when compared with the recovered goods. Cumulative value of the seized goods works out to Rs189.72 million.
FIR of the case has been lodged and further investigations are in progress including ascertainment of the role of customs staff involved in the clearance of these goods.