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NAB asked to probe customs staff Noor, others of ISAF/ATT in a similar TP mega scam

NAB asked to probe customs staff Noor, others of ISAF/ATT in a similar TP mega scam

KARACHI: The accused Customs officials who were acquitted by the court in ISAF/NATO containers mega scam are alleged to be still indulged in same practice of clearing the containers through TP, opening up seals of those containers enroute to Lahore or other ports of the country and replacing the smuggled goods with other items. These accused were acquitted as customs prosecution willfully weakened the case by not producing evidence/witnesses against the accused before the court. Genuine importers have asked the NAB to launch investigation against Customs staff including Noor Akbar Mahar, accused in the ISAF/NATO missing containers case, in a similar TP mega smuggling scam.
According to details, the court announced judgment of case no 72/2011 against suspects namely Noor Akbar Mahar, son of Ghulam Akbar Khan; Syed Arshad Ali, son of Syed Shamshad Ali; Mehfooz Ali Khan, son of Masood Ali Khan; Sardar Amin Farooqui, son of Jalil Ahmed; Munir Ahmed Brohi, son of Hassan Khan; A. Aziz Umrani, son of Muhammad Mithal; Muhammad Abbas Khan, son of Noor Ahmed Khan; Fareh Shoukat, son of Shaukat Ahmed; Shoukat Hussain, son of Muhammad Hussain; Muhammad Yasin, son of Gulab Khan; Shahid Rauf, son of Muhammad Yaseen Khan; Saeed Babar, son of Faqee Muhammad and Muhammad Irfan, son of Hafiz Abdul Majeed.
According to the verdict, during the investigation of the ISAF/NATO containers scam conducted by the probe committee of FBR, pursuant to the directions of the Supreme Court, initial investigations were conducted which transpired that Afghan Transit Trade consignments were got cleared by clearing agents as per notified procedure, the consignments were cleared from MCC Appraisement. During the investigation, it revealed that all consignments were first cleared in the garb of Afghan Transit Trade and then were smuggled and disposed of inside Pakistan, causing colossal loss of revenue to the state exchequer, it added.
The court further observed that “from evidence brought on record it is clear that complainant had no personal knowledge about commission of the offense by the accused persons nominated in this case and he simply signed the draft copy of FIR received from probe committee FBR, office and lodged the FIR on the instruction of the probe committee, the evidence of complainant is of totally no use for the prosecution as the witness has himself no knowledge of the crime allegedly committed by the accused persons.”
It is significant to note that only NLC was responsible to transport the consignments to Afghanistan but from the record it appears that they failed to perform their duty and no investigation was conducted from the NLC officials who were responsible for transportation of the consignments to Afghanistan.
Even the drivers of the vehicles engaged in transportation who played key role in the alleged crime were not nominated as an accused in this case either by the probe committee or by the complainant, investigation officer even failed to collect the import documents particularly GD which could show the consignments was imported by Afghan Importers, in absence of the GD the charge cannot be proved against any of the accused who are customs officials/staff and clearing agents, there is absolutely no evidence against the accused persons present in court, therefore, prosecution miserably failed to prove its case against them”.
In view of these findings and after evaluation of the summary evidence adduced by the prosecution, the court concluded it had been established beyond any reasonable doubt that the prosecution had miserably failed to prove its case against the accused, who were accordingly acquitted of the charge.
It is pertinent to mention here that the then Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had taken up the case relating to import of contraband items under the garb of food supplies meant for the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan and ordered the FBR chairman and the Federal Tax Ombudsman to submit comprehensive reports on the steps taken to implement recommendations made earlier by the FTO.
In his report on Jan 19, 2011, Dr Shoaib Suddle, the then FTO, had put the recoverable amount at Rs54.73 billion accumulated over the past four years owing to pilferage of containers that entered the country in the garb of Afghan Transit Trade (ATT). The FTO had also recommended in his report to give exemplary punishments to the accused customs officials.
Now all those accused customs officials including Noor Akbar Mahar are acquitted by the court and they are still providing a helping hand to the smugglers of banned items. These officials are clearing those containers through TP and replacing the smuggled goods enroute to other cities.
Customs Today has received a video in which it can clearly be seen that a person was opening up the seal of a container which was cleared through TP from Karachi ports and meant to be delivered to other cities. Then the same person skillfully re-sealed the container using the same seal that was removed by him. This tactic was only being used in Pakistan as there was no chance of re-using the same seal in other countries. This also shows that this is not a single case of TP smuggling but it is a pre-planned tactic being used by smugglers in connivance with customs staff.
Customs Today extensively raised the issues of misuse of green channel, yellow channel and TP facilities and Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar recently took notice of green channel smuggling and ordered the relevant authorities to submit reply within 10 days.
Genuine importers who are suffering huge losses at hands of these corrupt officials including Noor Akbar Mahar appealed to the Supreme Court and the NAB to take prompt action against these culprits of ATT mega scam who are still ‘involved’ in smuggling of banned items through green channel and TP.