Monday June 17, 2024

FBR raids, seals factory making fake cigarettes

By Usman Manzoor
April 11, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment KP BOI vice chairman and Federal Board of Revenue are at loggerhead as the vice chairman blamed FBR for blackmailing him while the FBR on Wednesday sealed an illegal cigarette manufacturing factory in Buner allegedly run by the family of the vice BOI chairman.

The vice chairman denied owning the illegal cigarette company while the FBR claimed it was being run by a company owned by family of KP BOI vice chairman and is registered in Mardan. Details reveal that a factory manufacturing forged cigarettes in Buner district while copying the brands of Pakistan Tobacco Company, Phillip Morris Pakistan and Khyber Tobacco Company Limited was raided by FBR and sealed thereon by RTO Arshad Abbasi.

The illicit factory is said to be causing a loss of Rs5.2 million on daily basis to the national exchequer, FBR sources claimed. The sources said that the KP BOI vice chairman was strong enough to run such a factory.

FBR Regional Tax Officer Arshad Abbasi while talking to The News said that he raided a factory in Buner and found out forged cigarettes of two multinational and one local taxpaying companies while he could not find factory's own brand.

“We have calculated a loss of around Rs65 million in lieu of government's receivables but the figures might climb up", said the officer adding, “The illegal factory was run by a company Saleem Cigarette Industries registered in Mardan and I don’t know who owns this company. I am doing my job and have sealed an illegal factory in Buner". KP BOI Vice Chairman Faisal Saleem, when contacted, said that he did not know any factory being run in Buner.

He mentioned that his family's business concern Saleem Cigarette Industries stopped manufacturing cigarettes in 2018. Faisal also said that his family's business is based in Mardan and has nothing to do in Buner. He said that he is striving to bring investment in KP.

Later he called this correspondent again only to tell that someone in FBR was

trying to blackmail him but it is not his party's policy to bribe anyone so he will fight. It is worth mentioning here that illicit cigarette manufacturing causes a loss of tens of billions to the national revenues every year and FBR is always on the move, especially in KP, to find out such factories.