LAHORE: Collector Customs Enforcement Basit Maqsood Abbasi has said that the clauses of anti-money laundering law have been incorporated to the First Information Reports (FIRs) to confiscate undeclared immoveable properties of smugglers.
While talking to media, he said, so far five FIRs have been lodged against leading smugglers, including the most notorious Nabi Bux Group and Sadiq Group with all details of their properties. He said investigation is underway to assess the status of all the properties of these smugglers in order to confiscate the undeclared ones.
Also, he said, non-cognizable arrest warrants have been issued against the gangsters involved in smuggling, including the Nabi Bux Group. It may be noted that customs officials have recently seized 10 containers of this group, loaded with smuggled items worth Rs400 million.
Meanwhile, he said, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has also sought explanation from various formations regarding uninterrupted passage of these containers for the city of Lahore.
When asked about the steps taken to check smuggling of foreign currency and gold, he said, the concerned staff of the Collectorate was ensuring profiling of passenger as well as commercial flights. Data of all flights flying frequently to Dubai is being maintained at the central level, he added.
He further said that it is always difficult to assess that how many goods, out of the smuggled ones, fall under the category of Afghan Transit Trade (ATT). Only those items are identifiable in such raids where the smuggled goods are carrying the stamp of ATT, he added.
According to him, the Collectorate has also raided godown of smuggled clothes in the area of Azam Cloth Market and Kashmir Ghati and seized 150ton smuggled cloth. He said a good number of residential buildings are being used for godown purposes in those areas.
Basit said the Board has amended the Customs Act further to incorporate retail business under the ambit of anti-smuggling law that has enabled the Collectorate to raid in the area of Azam Cloth Market.
He said the department is heading fast towards electronic auctioning of vehicles to make the process transparent. Also, he said, steps are underway to start bidding of tenders online.
The Collector said the department had destructed smuggled goods worth Rs650 million injurious to health.
He said the Collectorate has carried out operation against non-custom paid vehicles and compounded 35 vehicles of leading brands.