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NAB authorises inquiry against Maersk, QICT, SRB in multi-billion scam case
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NAB authorises inquiry against Maersk, QICT, SRB in multi-billion scam case

KARACHI: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has authorised inquiry against officials of Sindh Revenue Board, QICT and M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd in country’s biggest shipping scandal involving 400 billion rupees.
The NAB received the complaint with subject: Building dams by recovering losses of more than Rs 400 billion from officials of port terminals like Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) and shipping lines like Maersk Pakistan Pvt. Ltd. in terms of looting the nation under the garb of demurrage and detention, non payment of hundreds of billions of sales tax to Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) and also looting foreign exchange of Pakistan to the tune of millions of dollars annually and further illegalities committed by them.
The alleged 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 and a few officials of the SRB are making illegal money through malpractice defrauding the SRB of hundreds of billions of rupees by not paying Sales Tax on services offered at the rate of 13%.
Shipping company agent Maersk Pakistan Private Limited is reportedly providing shipping and other services in Pakistan to various importers and exporters. Therefore, they are liable to pay service tax to SRB at the rate of 13% as per SRB Notification No. 3-4/20/2017. The Commissioner II of the Sindh Revenue Board was bound by the Notification No. 3-4/20/2017 to collect sales tax on services from the shipping lines as mentioned in point 15 of the table which is also available on the official website of SRB.
Furthermore, terminal ports like QICT and shipping lines are not allowed to collect any demurrage and detention amounts from the importers when the importers provide “delay and detention certificate” under section 14-A of the Customs Act, 1969. Despite this the port terminal and shipping lines blackmail and harass the importers to collect hundreds of thousands of rupees per single consignment in connivance with the concerned officials of the Customs Department, Port Qasim Authority (PQA), Karachi Port Trust (KPT), Ministry of Maritime and others.
Furthermore, under rules 603 (Q), 603 (R), 604 (Q) and 607 (E), others of SRO 1220 (I)/2015 the shipping line cannot charge any demurrage or detention charges where it is not specifically written on the Bill of Lading (B/L). But still in violation of these rules and laws, the shipping lines fearlessly hold the container of the importers and charge them exorbitant detention charges in connivance with the concerned officials of the Customs Department, PQA, KPT, Ministry of Maritime and others.
The shipping lines Maersk and terminal operator QICT are collecting local service charges from Pakistan customers and freely converting such Pakistan rupees to US Dollars and repatriating the same which tantamount to the gross abuse of the foreign exchange laws of Pakistan. This action is draining our nation of our valuable foreign reserves and causing our currency to nose dive, the complaint said.
It is pertinent to mention here that Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ), Pakistan even informed Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) regarding losses of hundreds of billions of rupees in terms of unpaid sales tax by shipping lines like Maersk Pakistan Pvt Ltd and the QICT in connivance with the concerned officers/officials of the SRB who are still using delaying tactics because of their malafide intentions and personal financial gains.
The NAB has finally authorised inquiry against officials of Sindh Revenue Board, QICT and M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd in country’s biggest shipping scandal involving 400 billion rupees.