LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency claimed on Thursday to have arrested five clearing agents for preparing fake import and export documents of Pakistani and Indian authorities.

According to FIA, a team of its Corporate Crime Circle, headed by Deputy Director Jamil Ahmad Khan Mayo, conducted two raids -- one on Australia Building and the other on an office in Boharwala Chowk area near Lahore railway station.

In the raid on Australia building, the FIA recovered blank Indian invoices of importers and exporters from Amritsar -- Shivaji Ditta and J Keshore -- besides stamps of Indian customs, Export Promotion Bureau, other Indian exporters, railway cargo, department of plant protection and quarantine storage, export inspection council, land customs station, Amritsar, Amritsar Exporters Chamber of Commerce, Majith Mandi Amritsar, and fake letterheads and stamps of several other local and Indian companies.

According to initial investigation, the FIA said, the suspects imported edible items, including groundnut kernel and cumin seeds etc from India on the basis of fake invoices, SAFTA form and goods declaration with the connivance of custom authorities here.

They were also allegedly involved in under-invoicing and availed custom exemption on bogus documents -- invoice and SAFTA form.

It said Muhammad Akbar, manager of Pak-Afghan Clearing Agent, used to manage a fake test laboratory report, with the connivance of an officer of the plant quarantine department, Lahore.

The FIA arrested firm’s CEO Talat Mahmood Butt, import manager Muhammad Murtaza and Akbar and registered a case against them under sections 115/2016 U/s 420, 468, 471, 409 and 109 of the PPC and 4, 8, 23 of FER ACT, 1947, 4 of AML ACT, 2010 r/w 5(2)47 of PCA.

The second raid was conducted at Imran Yousuf and Co Importer Exporter and Customs Clearing Agent office at Alsharif Market, Boharwala Chowk.

The FIA team recovered stamps of Indian Custom Department, different stamps of Pakistani importers and exporters, receipts of banks related to hundi/hawala, bogus invoices and SAFTA forms from the office.

The FIA arrested Imran Yousaf (owner) and M Siddique (manager) of M/s Imran Yousuf and Co and registered a case against them.

FIA Punjab Director Dr Usman Anwar has constituted a high-powered committee to probe into the mega scam.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2016