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National

February 4, 2015

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FIA obtains arrest warrants of 80 Customs officials

LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Tuesday obtained arrest warrants for around 80 customs officials who had allegedly cleared raw material of veterinary medicines for a pharmaceutical company of Lahore, causing a loss of about Rs 50 million to the national exchequer.
The customs officials did not bother to join the investigation conducted by the FIA even after the passage of 10 months. The FIA obtained the arrest warrants from the court of a judicial magistrate, Ghulam Mustafa Ch. The court directed the FIA to arrest the accused and produce them till February 29.
The customs officials are accused of clearing raw material of veterinary medicines for a pharmaceutical company located at Allama Iqbal Road from the Karachi Port, in violation of rules and regulations.
In April 2014, a team of FIA led by Assistant Director Asif Ali Mian, who is also from Customs Department, raided the factory and confiscated a bulk of illegal raw material and fake veterinary medicines and registered a case against the factory owner, Ashfaq, and his accomplices on April 21, 2014. The FIA had arrested Ashfaq and his son Adeel Ahmed Khan.
During the probe, the involvement of customs officials came to light through verification of records of Assistant Drug Controller (ADC) and Customs Karachi of different consignments of pharmaceutical raw material imported from 2010 to 2014.
It was also revealed during the initial probe that the importer had got NOC only of 34 items whereas hundreds of items were imported and subsequently cleared by the officials. The FIA had held Muzaffar Rizvi and Mir Mansoor as the main accused in the whole episode.
It is pertinent to mention here the incumbent Chairman Federal Board of Revenue, Tariq Bajwa, four months back had ordered the customs officials to join the investigation when the then director general, FIA, had taken up the matter with him requesting his help in completing the investigations into the issue.
The DG had

also requested the FBR chairman to issue instructions to the chief collector customs, Karachi to ensure the attendance of the accused officers before the investigation officer at the earliest. But so far, no one has followed the instructions of the FBR chairman.
FIA investigators had sent three notices to the accused customs officials, twice to all the accused in individual capacity and one to the chief collector customs, Karachi, but no one responded to the notices. The last notice sent to the accused was on July 16, 2014.
Collector Appraisement-East, Najeeb Abbasi, allegedly to save the skin of the accused had written a letter to the Ministry of Commerce some five months back, requesting it to approve the course of action adopted by the Customs officials for the release of the pharmaceutical raw material at the Karachi Port.
Najeeb had mentioned in the letter that Ministry of Health, being a regulatory ministry, had never objected to the procedure adopted for clearance of pharmaceutical raw material and the release of consignments of raw material on part of the customs was strictly in line with mandatory provisions of law.
Among the accused included Najmul Hassan Jamali, Principal Appraiser (PA), Manzor Rajpar (PA), Muzafar Razvi (PA), Zahid Parviz (PA), Bhadr Khan (PA), Razia Sultana Bhutto (PA), Murtaza Yaar Khan (PA), Iqbal Hussain (PA), Naseer ud Din Humayun (PA), Muhammad Iqbal (PA), Qamar ud Din Smaicho (PA), Aga Muhammad Aslam (PA), Jawed Ahsen (PA), Jamshid Ali Khan (PA), Bashir Abbas Bukhari (PA), Jalal ud Din (PA), Liaqat Ali (PA), Islam Jan Marwat (PA), Aftab Hussain (PA), Abdul Majeed (PA), Sakndar Ali Janejo (PA), Madan Lal (PA), Sayeed Irshad Ali Shah (PA), Meer Mansor Ahmad (PA), Noor Muhammad Panhor (PA), Ahmad Nawaz (PA) and Ghulam Muhammad (PA).
Among the Appraising Officers (AOs) included Abdul Aziz (AO), S M Sohail (AO), Noor Muhammad Kalwar (AO), Amir Ahmad Samon (AO), Akhtar Ali Jamali (AO), Meer Alam Khattak (AO), M Qadeer Khan (AO), Sayed Zameer (AO), Altaf Ali Chandio (AO), Laique Ahmad Shah (AO), S Zagum Abass (AO), Zafar Shabbir (AO), Mansoor Ahmad Meer (AO), Sana Ullah Abbasi (AO), Aziz Sarwar (AO), Muhammad Ahmad (AO), Abid Hussain Shah (AO), Zagum Abbas Khawar (AO), Abdul Rasheed Khan (AO), Rao Muhammad Aslam (AO), Muhammad Nazir (AO), Rai Iftikhar (AO), Noor Muhammad Niazi (AO), Raja Waseem (AO), Rai Fayyaz Ahmad (AO), Thimor Khan (AO), Muhammad Waseem (AO), Ameer Ahmad Samo (AO), Muhammad Akram (AO), Muhammad Anjum Barkzai (AO), Abdul Aziz (AO), Jawed Khalid (AO), Ali Akbar (AO), Zulfiqar Sheikh (AO), Saiful Rahee (AO), Mirza Irfan Baig (AO), Ch Ghulam Asghar (AO) and Manzor (AO).
Among the Examining Officers (EO) included Salman Bukhari, Syed Farhan Mehdi (EO), Rifat Ali (EO), Shahid Hameed (EO), Akhtar Hussain Wahla (EO), Ms Nazia Hussain (EO), Sayed Imtiaz Hussain (EO), Noshad Ali (EO), Khizra Saeed (EO) and Muhammad Ajmal (EO).
Talking to The News, the then Chief Collector Customs, Karachi, Nasir Masroor had confirmed that the FBR chairman had instructed all the accused to appear before the investigation team as early as possible. He had said the FIA sent notices to the accused in individual capacity and everyone would respond to them on individual basis.
Meanwhile, talking to The News, Mir Mansoor had claimed that the charges on them were false as they cleared raw material of a pharmaceutical company, not of medicines. He had claimed that they would take the FIA officials to the court of law for their illegal actions against them.
“We have not committed any wrongdoing in clearing the raw material at the Karachi Port”, Mir had said, adding they had no link with the accused owner who was arrested by the FIA officials in Lahore.

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