KARACHI: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has received a complaint seeking probe to ascertain link of Habibullah Khan with Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) / DP World in parking billions of rupees black money.
A local newspaper reported that Habibullah Khan recently declared liquid assets of $1.25 billion outside of Pakistan in the single largest Amnesty declaration in the South Asian country. He is the Founder and Chairman of Mega Conglomerate – Mega & Forbes Group of Companies (Mega Group – MFG). Forbes Group includes Forbes Shipping Company (Pvt) Ltd, Inservey Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and Inshipping (Pvt) Ltd. He is also the owner of Haleeb Foods. Pioneer Cement Ltd is an affiliate of Mega group. The group led by Habibullah Khan owns 47% shares of Pioneer Cement through Vision Holding Middle East Limited.
The newspaper quoted Habibullah as boasting, “By 2000, we bought Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT), where the DP World is our partner today. We used to control 42 percent of anything that came in and out of this country in containers,” he says. While surprisingly QICT hides this partnership of Habibullah Khan on its website to show that QICT is fully owned by DP World. This hide and seek between the trio Habibullah, QICT and DP World smells fish which needs to be uncovered by the investigators at NAB. Habibullah accepted in an interview that he is the owner of QICT and DP World is their partner then question arises that why he is hiding his name from ownership of QICT on their official website, possibly to save himself from criminal activities of management and staff of the terminal, sources said.
Sources said Mrs. Nusrat Khan is Director of QICT Pvt Ltd and she is also the Executive Director of Mega Conglomerate (Pvt) Ltd. of which Habibullah Khan is the chairman. Similarly, Aly Khan is a director of QICT Pvt. Ltd. and also director of Haleeb Foods Limited and Pioneer Cement Limited both of which are led by Habibullah Khan. At first sight, when we look at the executives of QICT then we do not understand their link with Habibullah which he himself boasts to get credit in media. But a careful perusal at the list of executives of the other companies led by Habibullah like Mega Conglomerate, Haleeb Foods Limited and Pioneer Cement Limited reveals the triangle linking between these persons and entities clearly with QICT where juniors of Habibullah in these companies are controlling management of QICT. Both of these officials role seems to be suspicious as both have big posts in different companies under Habibullah while also at QICT. The complaint received by NAB had to look into the role of these two top officials linked with Habibullah companies especially QICT where hundreds of billions were being looted from importers through blackmailing and cheating. This probe could expose how Habibullah succeeded to make huge amounts of black money through his companies and turned into a successful businessman from a small business in a short span of time.
“The highest amounts whitened under amnesty scheme 2018 in Pakistan history is by owners of these terminals and shipping lines. According to reports, attached as samples only, these amounts run in to hundreds of billions of rupees. In fact, one single declaration out of these under the amnesty 2018, as reported in Pakistan Today, is a whopping USD 1.25 billion. Now, when they (the shipping lines) collect a meagre USD 300 white amount on a cost of USD 1,000 and also USD 0 on a cost of USD 1,000 then it is alarming that how did they collect such hundreds of Billions of rupees to declare. It is obvious that they collected all this money through their criminal activities of blackmailing and threatening importers while carrying out criminal breach of trust by not returning goods of importers while carrying criminal conspiracy,” the complaint said.
The complaint said the amnesty scheme announced through an Ordinance on April 10, 2018 does not provide amnesty to declarations of assets that are procured through criminal means as read in Foreign Assets (Declaration and Repatriation) Act, 2018 under section 4 (2): “The provisions of this Act shall not apply to any proceeds or assets that are involved in or derived from the commission of a criminal offence”.
Meanwhile, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) received a complaint seeking probe to ascertain role of 65 employees of QICT / DP World and Maersk in country’s biggest shipping scandal involving 610 billion rupees.
The complaint received by the NAB demanded legal action for recoveries of amounts looted and recovering losses of Rs. 610 billion to the national exchequer per year while also stopping such further losses from the accused persons of these companies including Søren Skou, Claus V. Hemmingsen, Søren Toft, Vincent Clercp, Morten H. Engelstoft, others of Maersk Line; Arslan Khan, Hazanfar Khan, Raheel Salim, Maqsood Ul Hasan Khan, Fuad Khan, Hasan Faraz, Shakeel Masih, Omer Khan, Ali Jawad Alvi, Zafar Iqbal, Ayesha Chowdhry, Zahid Hussain, Salman Ahmad, Aamir Ali, Umais Aziz Khan, Mohammed Naeem, Farheen Mahmud, Mubasshar Iqbal, Affaq Syed, Syed Mohammad Abbas Jafri, Muhammad Tanveer Sharif, Salman Ateeq, Hamza Haq, Ziad Mahboob, Aamir Ibrahim, Yasir Saeed Khan, Amal Sadiq Dawood, Effat Mehmood, Maria Urooj, Zain Warsi, Mehreen Zulfiqar, Awais Saleem, Zafar Iqbal, Syed Osman Iqbal Zaidi, Anum Yaqub, Fahad Ali, Obaid Iqbal, Zahid Hussain, Muhammad Ali Qureshi, Danish Siddiqui, Amir Arif, Arshad Ayub, Syed Mudassir Ali, Syed Hammad Hussain, Ayesha Qadri, Sheikh Samiullah, others of M/S Maersk Pakistan Private Limited; Habibullah Khan, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Yuvraj Narayan, Deepak Parekh Robert Woods, Abdulla Ghobash, Mark Russell, Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Nadya Abdulla Kamali, Mohammed Al Muallem, Suhail Al Banna, Rizwan Soomar, Rashid Abdulla, Mohammad Al Hashimy, Junaid Zamir and others of DP World/ QICT Ltd.
As per the complaint received by the NAB, the nexus of some Customs staff, port terminals like QICT along with its parent company DP World, Port Qasim and shipping lines like Maersk Line along with its agent Maersk Pakistan Private Limited, including its owners, managers & staff are making illegal money through malpractice.
“Firstly, customs department delays goods of majority of containers that arrive in red channel. 80% of the goods cleared in red channel take a duration which is more than the free days provided by the port terminals. Hence, the port terminals take huge amounts from the importers on each consignment thus delayed. These shipping lines also force the importers to pay huge illegal sums. All these three: the customs staff, port terminals, shipping lines as mentioned above delay the clearance and delivery of the goods to the importer. Due to this delay, the revenue collection of duty and taxes is slowed down drastically of the actual speed. Like where these goods were to be cleared and delivered in 2 days then it takes an average of 20 days to clear and deliver,” the complaint said.
The complaint received by the NAB said, “The total revenue collection by customs department is Rs. 610 billion. If the process of revenue collection is not slowed down by the above-mentioned parties then at least the revenue collections could be doubled. Hence, total loss to national exchequer due to above nexus and illegal acts of the subject accused is Rs. 610 billion”.
“The terminal ports and shipping lines are not allowed to collect any demurrage and detention amounts from the importer when the importer provides ‘delay and detention certificate’ under section 14 A of the Customs Act, 1969. Despite this, the port terminals and shipping lines blackmail and harass the importer to collect hundreds of thousands of rupees per single consignment. Since this is illegal money demanded from the citizens of Pakistan and hence it can be termed as an ‘extortion’ amount,” the complaint said.
The complaint said, furthermore, under rules 603 (Q), 603 (R), 604 (Q) and 607 (E), others of SRO 1220 (I)/2015, the shipping lines cannot charge any demurrage or detention charges where it is not specifically written on the B/L. But still in violation of these rules and laws, the shipping lines fearlessly hold the containers of the importers and charge them exorbitant detention charges. These detention charges even exceed the actual cost of container by a whopping 1,000%!
“The shipping lines charges only 30% of its cost from the importer to allure importer to give his containers to them. All remaining 70% of cost and huge profits are made through illegal means and black money. Like China-Pak cost of shipment for a 40HQ container is charged USD 300 whereas the actual cost to the shipping company is USD 1,000. Pak-China freight is almost USD 0 to USD 10 which is even more surprising. When white income of these shipping lines is only 30% of their cost then it is obvious that they are indulging in many illegal and black activities to cover cost and also make huge profits,” the complaint said.
“When complaints are made to Customs department then they do not take action against the accused which is mandatory under sections 156 (1) 7A of the Customs Act, 1969 and also rules 603 (Q), 603 (R), 604 (Q) and 607 (E), others of SRO 1220 (I)/2015. The nexus of some Customs officials, Maersk Line and DP World /QICT Ltd has made these active provisions of law entirely redundant and they should be severely punished for the same,” the complaint said.
The complaint demanded from the NAB to take legal action against the subject accused persons, recover amounts looted by them, recover losses suffered by national exchequer to the tune of Rs. 610 billion per year and stop further losses.