12 importers face probe over alleged Rs477.3 million money laundering

Pakistani rupee interbank closing

ISLAMABAD: The Customs Intelligence has initiated an inquiry into an alleged money laundering involving 12 importers who stand accused of transmitting foreign exchange amounting to Rs477.3 million ($1.69 million) through illegitimate channels.

According to official documents, the Directorate of Intelligence and Investigation Customs Karachi has registered a First Information Report (FIR) against the implicated entities.

The list includes M/s Uffan Traders Muhammad Affan, M/s Ayyaz Enterprises, Directors of M/s AM Associates (Pvt) Ltd, Jelani Enterprises, Directors of M/s Skyelectric, SasPak Cargo, Directors of M/s RA Engineering, M/s Nadeem Associates, Abdul Wahab Rafiq M/s Mediflux Services, Awan & Agha Associates, Abdul Basit M/s Med Vision International, Directors of M/s Millennium Steel, M/s C&F Solutions Customs & Freight, Iman Ali M/s Mix Trade Enterprises, 3-star enterprises, Vista Impex, Directors/owners of M/s Aliz International, Liaqat Ali M/s Humayun Dental Supplies, Ahsan Ellahi Malik M/s Elahi Enterprises, and M/s Salman Corporation.

The accusations centre around the alleged remittance of $1,694,178 through illicit channels, bypassing mandatory requirements related to the filing of the Electronic Import Form (EIF).

Investigations reveal that 40 goods declarations submitted by the importers sought exemptions under Chapter 99 of the Pakistan Customs Tariff.

Notably, these importers neglected to submit the necessary electronic I-form to Customs for the clearance of the respective goods. Consequently, a sum of $1,694,178 was remitted to foreign shippers.

In accordance with State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) regulations and import-export laws, importers are obligated to transmit foreign exchange through legitimate banking channels.

This entails applying to the relevant bank in Pakistan for the issuance of the Electronic Import Form, specifying the amount to be remitted to the foreign shipper.

The Customs Act of 1969 mandates importers to fulfil their duty to make accurate declarations and avoid misdeclarations during the filing of goods  declarations.However, in this instance, the importers and their clearing agents purportedly failed to fulfil these obligations.

To address these concerns, notices were issued to the importers under Section 27 of the Customs Act 1969, urging them to provide information about the legal channels through which they remitted foreign exchange to shippers abroad.

Regrettably, the importers allegedly did not provide justifications, indicating that they collectively transferred $1,694,178 through illegal means.

Based on these findings, the Directorate of I&I Customs Karachi believes that the 12 importers, with the assistance of accomplices, are implicated in money laundering offences under sections 3 and 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010.

These allegations arise from the commission of predicate offenses under sections 32 and 32A, among others, including sections 16, 19, 79, 192, and 209 punishable under Customs and SBP laws.

The investigation asserts that the importers, along with their clearing agents, systematically evaded the necessary requirements of EIF, exploiting exemptions under Chapter 99, and proceeded to clear their consignments without facing penal consequences.

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