Diplomatic missions in Pakistan using fake certificates to evade Customs


ISLAMABAD: Diplomatic missions based in Pakistan have found involved in providing fake exemption certificates to Customs department for clearing of diplomatic consignments.

Customs Wing of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) wrote a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to check the validity of all exemption certificates provided by foreign missions and consulates for the import of diplomatic consignments.

FBR Customs Member Zahid Khokhar told Pakistan Today that one embassy provided a fake exemption certificate. “We asked the MoFA to check all previous certificates but MoFA has not replied yet.”

MoFA should again check the authenticity of all provided exemption certificate as one embassy of the Middle East, to clear its consignment had not only provided the fake exemption letter, but also presented inaccurate details, said sources.

Upon checking, it was revealed that relevant embassy had put a fake stamp of the MoFA on the certificate, they said, adding that the department had also confiscated the cars brought in that consignment.

A Customs’ officer informed that the officials do not normally check the diplomatic consignments as if they check the goods of any country then the relevant country would check Pakistan’s diplomatic consignments in return. The consignments, however, most of the times are mis-declared, the officer added.

Recently, Pakistan Customs had seized the mobile phones, auto parts, refrigerator and boxes of paints worth Rs 60 million in Karachi. These aforementioned items were kept in the diplomatic container of United Arab Emirates (UAE). The handler, after shifting the household goods to UAE consulate, moved to other places to transfer the items to other persons.

After this incident, the FBR had made the MoFA exemption certificate mandatory.

Another officer of Pakistan Customs told that foreign missions import liquor, apart from their other goods, and sell this in Pakistani market.

In recent past, it was revealed during the investigation that North Korean Ambassador had imported the liquor beyond the prescribed limit allowed under the Pakistani law which was most likely to be sold somewhere in Pakistan.

The foreign mission and consulate based in Pakistan import approximately ten thousand containers every year.