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Illegal clearance of imported liquor causes national exchequer Rs400 million.

Islamabad -- A local liquor importer of branded liquor and some officials of FBR Customs have caused a loss of Rs400 million to the national in tax evasion in the last four years by helping the importing firm to clear the consignment at Islamabad Dry Port through sheer gross under-invoicing.

According to documents available with reporter, the Director General Intelligence and Investigation-FBR has written a letter (C No 1 (19) DGCI/Enf-III 2013/925) to a senior official of the FBR customs stating that M/S Sun Diplomatic Bonded Warehouse, Islamabad, which has been authorised to import the liquor to foreigners by the Ministry, of Commerce, has been involved in massive smuggling of liquor, using alarmingly heavy under invoicing as modus operandi.

According to the letter, a huge quantity of liquor --- Teacher, Johny Walker Red Label, Whyte and Mackay, Hedges and Butler, High Land Queen etc--- which was supposed to be supplied to only the foreigners, ended up in the open market of Islamabad and the Sun Diplomatic cashing in a huge profit from the smuggled liquor.

According to the letter, for every bottle of liquor especially whiskies authorised by the Ministry of Commerce, 11 additional bottles of every brand had illegally been brought to the country and unlawfully disposed of in open market of Islamabad in blatant violation of restriction imposed by the government.

The letter more shocking revelations will surface into the fraud committed and tax evaded with the connivance of Customs officials at the Dry Port once the investigation is started into the scam.

"There is overwhelming evidence on record to the effect that the officers of Customs had never made any effort to determine correct Customs value of the liquor imported by M/S Sun Diplomatic Bonded Warehouse, Islamabad, even though hundred of consignments and clearance of liquor were allowed on alarmingly low values which tantamount to facilitated the fraud. This menace started acquiring monstrous proportion since January 2010 when the import of liquid started rising significantly," says the letter.

According to the letter, the M/S Sun Diplomatic Bonded Warehouse supplied the liquor to foreigners duty-free and sell the same to the privileged persons and in the market on payment of duty taxes.

The letter while recommending further investigation in the scam says that "the findings of the investigation conducted so far is that in relation to ridiculously low assessment of popular blended brands imported by the M/S Sun Diplomatic Bonded Warehouse, at Islamabad Dry Port defrauded the exchequer of more than Rs400 million. The different between the assessed and the lawfully determined Customs values in relation to various types of liquors and the fraud committed in connivance of the officials may more than that and may rise up to Rs800 million. The evidence of the fraud also establishes that the M/S Sun Diplomat Bonded Warehouse has not paid a single penny in either income tax or sales tax despite having sold the liquor at higher rates."

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Publication:The Frontier Star (Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jul 18, 2016
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