KARACHI: A few ‘corrupt’ customs officials at Karachi ports have started clearing smuggled goods through ‘TP’ as they have changed their action plan of clearing illegal goods from ‘green channel’ and ‘yellow channel’. This nexus of corrupt officials has been playing in the hands of smugglers at Karachi East Collectorate.
Customs Today unearthed the misuse of green channel, yellow channel and now TP facility but FBR and Customs high-ups paid no heed to so much media coverage against corrupt practices at Karachi ports by its own staff. Banned and restricted items including dangerous chemicals, betel nuts and drugs have been poured into Pakistan through green channel & yellow channel, showing a close connection of these crooked customs elements with smugglers. Now they are removing these goods through TP from Karachi East Collectorate, without any checking.
TP means Transshipment Permit and it is used in smuggling of banned items from the port because TP is not checked at Karachi port. Customs officials put a seal at the door of the container as these goods would be checked at its destination like Lahore where the clearance would take place.
In TP smuggling, the GD-TP is filed at the collectorate where the goods have arrived like Karachi east collectorate. The smugglers file wrong goods. Like when banned betel nuts or liquor say weighing 8 tons is in the container, then they file iron scrap weighing 8 tons. The goods are released from the port without checking.
According to S.R.O.174(I)/2013, the importer has 7 days to make the goods reach the port of destination. It generally takes only 3 days for a container to reach Lahore. Hence, the smugglers take the container first to their own warehouse. They have lot of time available hence they peacefully remove the walls of the container through special equipment. Then they remove the banned goods like harmful betel nuts, liquor, drugs etc. and then replace it with 8 tons of iron and steel scrap and close the walls of the container.
Then from their godown they send the container to the Lahore dry port. At Lahore dry port, the goods are cleared smoothly as it contains iron and steel scrap as declared at Karachi east collectorate.
Earlier there was also a question that whether there is a department within the collectorate to monitor data, docs, etc. so that such smuggling do not occur at the ports itself?
Yes, there is a department at Karachi East Collectorate called R&D (research and development). Its primary duty is to closely supervise the data, docs, etc. so that no smuggling happens using green/yellow channel or using TP.
But this department is controlled by Dost Muhammad, the principal appraiser there who is a corrupt official and also unqualified person for the post.
Customs Today recently received a video where it could be clearly seen that a container of betel nuts was seized but customs staff was negotiating to release the container after taking bribe. Betel nuts were hidden under chemicals so that it can be cleared under the garb of allowed low value chemicals.
This video is important as customs staff is seen in that video around the smuggled drums of betel nuts that are hidden inside under the chemicals. Customs staff is saying that these betel nuts were caught because ‘negotiations’ failed. Obviously these ‘negotiations’ are about deciding exact bribe amount to be paid. This is at PICT port which falls under the Karachi east collectorate where Dost Muhammad handles R&D department.
This R&D department is responsible to keep a check on documents and data of green channel, yellow channel, red channel to avoid any unscrupulous activity through these channels. But he did nothing to stop any wrongdoing through these channels.
Following is a letter of an importer sent to the Collector Karachi Appraisement East who has clarified how Dost is a criminal and corrupt person and also how he is unqualified to be placed at the post:
We have already apprised you that Mr. Dost Muhammad who is presently serving as incharge of R&D department is involved in a lengthy series of serious crimes:
1. He blackmails the genuine legal importers to fulfill personal agenda.
2. He spreads false information and propaganda against the legal importers merely to achieve personal goals.
3. He is abusing his official post so as to achieve personal objectives.
4. He claims to be running parallel commercial activities which are not allowed under the law. It is obvious that he is protecting those activities by abusing his official post.
5. He is incharge of R&D department whose primary work is to check data of shipments and ensure that green channel, yellow channel and TP smuggling does not occur at the port. But instead of controlling such smuggling at the port, he is protecting and facilitating such smugglers.
6. He is officially a junior post person but illegally assigned to work at a senior post in R&D. This is one reason why above 3 kinds of smuggling does not stop even at your port despite your efforts. Such assignment at a higher post is not only illegal but also shows his powerful corrupt backing and lobby.
7. He is running a clearing agency under the name of his brother. He protects, using his official post, all the illegal work conducted there.
This letter proves how smugglers bring their billions of rupees worth goods at Karachi ports without any hesitation and with the support of corrupt customs officials like Dost Muhammad. They get full support and patronage from these corrupt officials, otherwise they could have smuggled these goods from long porous borders.
Legal and genuine importers appealed to the NAB and FIA to take prompt action against corrupt principal appraiser Dost Muhammad to catch red-handed the hundreds of containers filled with illegal goods at Karachi East Collectorate.