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Green channel notice of CJP, Chairman NAB: DG admits charges on customs dept, claims himself innocent

Green channel notice of CJP, Chairman NAB: DG admits charges on customs dept, claims himself innocent

KARACHI: Directorate General Customs Intelligence & Investigation put up total blame on the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Customs Department while confirming large scale misuse of green channel facility, in its report submitted to Chairman FBR, Tariq Mahmood Pasha.

As per details, Customs Today extensively covered and reported since past several months the misuse of green channel facility and published repeatedly an appeal of senior investigative journalist Asad Kharal 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 as Asad Kharal appeared before the court and submitted the complaint regarding green channel smuggling and ordered the FBR Chairman Tariq Mahmood Pasha, Member Customs Zahid Khokhar and DG Intelligence Shaukat Ali to submit reply within 10 days. The court associate also sent the notice copy to the Chairman NAB for notice and necessary action.

After CJP’s notice, FBR advised Directorate General Customs Intelligence & Investigation to submit its report. As per report, Directorate General Customs Intelligence & Investigation (I&I) placed on record that Green Channel facility has been mercilessly abused by some syndicates of unscrupulous importers and the possibility of connivance of few customs officers cannot be ruled out. The above comment emanates from the Directorate General’s experience of detection of Green Channel related cases and adverse reaction of some officers/officials in Customs hierarchy.

The Directorate General also mentioned in the report that strong recommendations of placing under suspension some Customs officers/officials suspected to be involved in facilitating the misuse of Green Channel facility repeatedly made by the Directorate General have been ignored by FBR. Thus, the manipulators inside the department do not feel discouraged enough to refrain from extending their helping hand to the fraudsters.

In addition to the above, whenever the Directorate General detected cases of misuse of Green Channel in the recent past, collectorates particularly MCC East Karachi, MCC West Karachi, MCC Port Qasim and MCC Appraisement Lahore have reacted sharply against the action taken by the Directorate General of Customs Intelligence & investigation and attempted to protect the fraudsters.

Directorate General Customs Intelligence & Investigation notes that non-action on part of FBR and adverse reaction of collectorates practically placed hurdles in the way of the Directorate General Customs Intelligence & Investigation to effectively check the misuse of the green channel facility at ports.

Director General Customs I&I Shaukat Ali noted there is a lot of weight in the complaint to the extent that the green channel facility at the ports have been excessively misused and recommended urgent action to arrest haemorrhage of state revenue.

It is important to mention here that Customs Today has been reporting on abuse of green channel since past many years and DG Intelligence report regarding misuse of green channel facility has confirmed this fact. Customs Today also unearthed mega brands like Mobilink and QMobile which were reported to be grossly abusing Green Channel facility with connivance of Customs staff. Customs Today exposed mega smuggling scam of Digicom Company (Q-Mobile) as the company cleared more than 750 containers through green channel.

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 a 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. Notwithstanding, these actions were only as token in nature and is a drop in the ocean whereas much more needs to be done. Customs Today also published investigative reports about changing of strategies by green channel smugglers as they started clearing illegal goods through yellow channel & TP.

At last Chief Justice Mian Saqib took notice of the issue and this step could help eradicate corruption mafia from the country especially in Customs Department as green channel smuggling is inflicting heavy losses on the national exchequer. The chief justice and the NAB chairman have also took suo moto notices of mega corruption cases in Pakistan and even Nawaz Sharif was disqualified as prime minister in a historic decision announced in the Panama Papers case.

Genuine importers once again appealed to the Chief Justice and Chairman NAB to take strict action against ‘corrupt mafia’ of Customs Dept and green channel smugglers for the sake of national economy.