Officials said a large number of such items, including laptops, notebooks, mobile phones, LCDs, digital cameras and expensive medicines, were being cleared by the ICG without payment of duties or taxes. The officials said the illegal clearance of such goods caused losses of billions of rupees to the exchequer. – File Photo

KARACHI: The customs authorities have unearthed a scam involving clearance of banned and high-tariff goods worth billions of rupees from the Immediate Clearance Group (ICG) at the Air Freight Unit of the Jinnah terminal.

Officials told Dawn on Wednesday that the goods were being cleared as ‘courier documents’ and under other mis-declarations. The primary objective of the ICG is to expedite clearance of perishable goods, courier documents and diplomatic mails. But, the officials said, the facility was being used for a long time to ‘smuggle’ banned and high-tariff goods into the country.

They said a large number of such items, including laptops, notebooks, mobile phones, LCDs, digital cameras and expensive medicines, were being cleared by the ICG without payment of duties or taxes. The officials said the illegal clearance of such goods caused losses of billions of rupees to the exchequer.

Sources said the scam was unearthed last month when the authorities detained a consignment belonging to a courier company.

It had come from Dubai contained 54 packages of 1,000kgs. It was declared as courier documents, but customs examiners found 245 laptops and 35 notebooks in the consignment.

The sources said the courier company had imported five such consignments in May this year. Investigation, they said, revealed that some other courier companies were also involved in illegal import of such goods. —Parvaiz Ishfaq Rana

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