The national exchequer lost as much as Rs50 billion in unpaid duties, tax evasion and pilferage in Afghan transit trade goods, according to the findings of an inquiry committee of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
The panel was formed under the Supreme Court’s directives.
It found that traders and revenue officials colluded in making 23,882 commercial containers “vanish” from Karachi port and avoided paying as much as Rs50 billion in duties and taxes.
Of the total, 19,000 containers, supposedly dispatched for the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) between January 2007 and October last year, were pilfered before they reached their exit points Chaman in Balochistan or Torkham in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
As the Supreme Court resumed hearing into the suo motu case about Isaf containers scam, FBR chairman Salman Siddique informed the bench that FIRs had been lodged against importers, clearing agents, terminal and port operators, customs officials, shipping agents, and transporters in 147 such incidents.
He also informed the court that lukewarm response from the Afghan government in providing details of commercial transit cargo sent to Afghanistan was creating delay in verifying the facts.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2011.