MULTAN: The business community of South Punjab is seriously aggrieved by non-professional behaviour of Principal Appraiser Dost Muhammad, who is currently posted at R&D Section of the Appraisement East and using different methods to encourage smuggling and discourage legal importers, causing huge loss to the national kitty.
It was stated by All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran Khawaja Chairman Suleman Siddiqui while talking to Customs Today on transshipment mega scam.
Khawaja Suleman said that R&D Department is responsible for checking documents and data of consignments cleared through the green channel, yellow channel and TP, but Dost Muhammad did not do anything to stop alleged smuggling through these channels. He said that some corrupt customs officials like Appraiser Dost Muhammad were allegedly operating their parallel smuggling networks for illegal clearance of contraband items like dangerous chemicals and betel nuts.
He said that some corrupt customs officials were serving at key posts and a few high ups of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) have given them ‘free hand’ to carry out corrupt practices. It is unfortunate that hundreds of customs officials are facing inquiries on serious charges of corruption and they are still posted on key posts for managing their smuggling network which is continuously causing huge revenue loss to the national exchequer.
The customs staff deputed to clear consignments was allegedly involved in illegal clearance of import shipments and they adopted new means of corruption due to inefficiency of the administration. He said that he was disappointed over the posting of corrupt officials in the Customs Department, including appraisers, examiners, assistant collectors, deputy collectors, additional Collector and others. Involvement of customs officials in the smuggling is like financial terrorism in the country, he said, adding that “every kind of smuggling activity is devastating the national economy.”
Khawaja Suleman said that at Karachi Port, the staff was involved in clearance of banned and prohibited items which might cause threat to public safety. Unfortunately, the government has failed to implement any sound policy against corrupt officials like Dost Muhammad in the Customs Department and complaints by several importers and businessmen revealed that the Customs high ups had not taken any action against them. He said the corrupt officials were working on key positions after bribing to their high ups and the transshipment mega scam would have been avoided. It is an open secret that smugglers get away with the help of the customs appraisers and they assist them just for the sake of bribery and they blackmail genuine importers.
He said that major manufacturers in Pakistan cannot compete with the kind of prices available in the market for the imported raw material. He said, “We are also responsible for giving bribe to corrupt officers in order to get the legal work done”. He added that the FBR did not take firm action against its corrupt officials even after getting concrete evidences and NAB had also failed to curb corruption in the country.