A local liquor importer of a branded liquor and some officials of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Customs have caused a loss of Rs 400 million to the national exchequer due to 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, the FBR Intelligence and Investigation director-general 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 & Mackay, Hedges & Butler, High Land Queen etc – which was supposed to be supplied only to 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 violation of restriction imposed by the government.
“There is overwhelming evidence on record to the effect that the officers of Customs have never made any effort to determine correct Customs value of the liquor imported by M/S Sun Diplomatic Bonded Warehouse, Islamabad, even though hundreds of consignments and clearance of liquor were allowed on alarmingly low values which tantamount to facilitate 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 sold the same to the privileged persons and in the market on payment of duty taxes.