ISLAMABAD: State Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar, taking notice of the sheer misuse of Customs green channel facility extensively reported by Customs Today, has directed FBR Chairman Jahanzeb Khan to probe the issue and report back to him.
According to details, Hammad Azhar asked the FBR to give him comprehensive presentation on working of Green Channel at Karachi ports and directed to submit the exact number of containers cleared through this facility during last one year, and about their value in terms of rupees, total cases registered against misuse of green channel facility and action taken against the violators.
Sources said that actually Prime Minister’s Secretariat took notice on stories of Customs Today regarding Customs green channel mega scam and instructed the State Minister for Revenue to do the needful in this regard to avoid revenue leakages worth billions of rupees as the government is already trying hard to improve tax revenue through widening of tax net and controlling the menace of smuggling.
Customs Today unearthed Rs 1000 billion mega scam of Green Channel at Karachi ports and exclusively covered and reported since past few years about the misuse of the facility by smugglers with the connivance of a few customs officials. Even, former Director General Customs Intelligence & Investigation (I&I) Shaukat Ali admitted that green channel facility has been mercilessly abused by some syndicates in connivance with a few corrupt customs officers. He said the green channel facility at the ports has been “excessively misused” and recommended urgent action to arrest haemorrhage of state revenue.
According to FBR sources, on the directives of the State Minister Chairman FBR Jahanzeb Khan has directed the Member Customs to prepare the presentation, inquire the matter and compile a detailed report with recommendations and suggestions to resolve the issue to improve the working of this facility. No timeframe has been set for inquiry and compilation of the report, sources added.
Sources said that on the direction of the State Minister, FBR high-ups are considering to bring the positive changes and transparency in green channel policy and introduce effective measures to control the menace of smuggling through this route. The State Minister has also conveyed the message to the corrupt mafia that corruption will not be tolerated in any form, sources added.
As per details, Customs Today published repeatedly an appeal to the Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and the NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal to take notice of Rs 1000 billion green channel illegal clearances. The Chief Justice took notice of the complaint and ordered the FBR Chairman to submit the reply within 10 days. The court associate also sent the notice copy to the Chairman NAB for notice and necessary action.
It is worthy to mention here that Customs Today has been reporting on abuse of green channel since past many years. Mega brands like Mobilink and QMobile were reported to be grossly abusing Green Channel facility with the connivance of Customs staff. Customs Today exposed mega smuggling scam of Digicom Company (Q-Mobile) as the company cleared more than 750 containers through the green channel. Then, Customs Today published several reports about betel nuts smuggling worth billions of rupees through ports at Port Qasim and Appraisement East Collectorate.
On 2nd February 2018, Customs Today exposed a smuggling bid of 15,520 liters of dual-use precursor acetic anhydride worth around $1.5 million at Port Qasim. The acetic anhydride is the main ingredient for preparing narcotics substance as well as making highly dangerous explosives by the terrorist outfits. Then, Customs Today published several reports about betel nuts smuggling worth billions of rupees through ports at Port Qasim and Appraisement East Collectorate.
These reports led to multiple raids, tens of FIRs and recoveries of illegally cleared goods worth billions of rupees. In fact, in a single raid at a SITE area godown, 600,000 Kgs. of betel nuts worth Rs 1.5 billion were seized. Customs Today also published investigative reports about changing of strategies by green channel smugglers as they started clearing illegal goods through yellow channel & TP.