KARACHI: Pakistan’s biggest ever fraud of sales tax is unearthed where Maersk shipping line has evaded billions of rupees sales tax in terms of services provided to its local clients whereby businessmen of Pakistan have appealed to NAB and FIA to intervene and investigate connivance of Maersk and Sindh Revenue Board in the alleged mega scandal.
According to details, Maersk shipping line is issuing ‘benaami’ bills without sales tax numbers, without publishing its own name on the bills and giving its sales tax numbers. As per its modus operandi, Maersk sends emails in the name of Helen De Isidero to its clients whereas it is actually sent by Mr. Maqsud through Pakistan email ID email@example.com. Maersk Pakistan employees themselves claim that Helen works in their Manila office while the email is sent from Pakistan office.
Furthermore, all services are provided in Pakistan through Pakistan company M/s Maersk Pakistan Pvt. Ltd. but the company tries to show that services are provided by foreign company and their employees through using dummy names. When service provided in Pakistan by Pakistan office and Pakistan employees then how can sales tax on such service remain unpaid? This obviously is a fraud to evade huge sales tax liabilities.
Sources said Sindh Revenue Board had detected this fraud but someone very senior called them and asked them not to proceed against Maersk Line. Relevant quarters say that 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 Sindh Revenue Board http://www.srb.gos.pk/contents/Notifications/SRB-3-4.20.2017.PDF
Business community says that Commissioner II, instead of keeping mum over the issue, should fulfil his duties and collect sales tax from the Maersk Pakistan and also recover the evaded sales tax worth billions and also lodge FIR against the Maersk officials for the huge scam so that others do not commit such criminal evasion of sales taxes. Such funds so collected will go a long way in developing our country. According to another document of Sindh Revenue Board named Working Tariff (amended up to 4th December, 2017), the shipping lines are bound to pay at least 13% sales tax on services as mentioned in table which is also available on its official website http://www.srb.gos.pk/contents/Downloads/20171204007_WORKING_TARIFF_AMENDED_2017.pdf
On the other hand, when Customs Today tried to contact Maersk Pakistan’s high-ups on their office numbers to take their view point on the story, they avoided to give answers to specific questions.
Businessmen who have been looted by Maersk have asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) to investigate this sales tax fraud and the role of SRB in helping Maersk do the massive fraud.
It is pertinent to mention here that the NAB and the FIA already received a complaint seeking probe to ascertain role of employees of Maersk Line in country’s biggest shipping scandal involving 610 billion rupees.
Importers lodged application against Maersk Line and its subsidiary in Pakistan Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd for conspiracy, cheating and criminal breach of trust under PPC 407, 409, 420, 427, 506 and others so that these fraudsters are stopped to blackmail genuine importers by demanding ‘illegal’ demurrage and detention charges.
The complaint received by the NAB and the FIA 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 Maersk Line and M/s Maersk Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd including Søren Skou, Claus V. Hemmingsen, Søren Toft, Vincent Clercp, Morten H. Engelstoft, others of Maersk Line and 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.