Customs seizures go missing from customs warehouse

Islamabad: A gap between customs seizures and warehouse stock of vehicles has emerged in the warehouse of the directorate of custom intelligence, Lahore pointing at massive misappropriation of government assets by or with the connivance of custom officers.

Sources disclosed there were differences between the number of seizures and the entries in warehouse registers (DA register) in most of the custom field formations including intelligence directorates across the country but the customs high ups are avoid tallying these two registers allegedly because they know any such exercise would uncover massive misappropriations by custom officers.

Pakistan Customs keeps two types of registers including seizure register and warehouse register commonly known as DA register.

Seizure register shows the number of vehicles or other contraband goods seized whereas the DA register contains record of the seized goods stored in the customs warehouse.

Sources revealed that there were awful and eye opening gaps between the entries of these two registers in almost every customs field formation which the custom officers including high ups of the department were keen to cover and conceal.

Recently, an audit team pointed out that seized vehicles were found missing from the customs state warehouse, Islamabad as many seized vehicles were unlawfully given to the high ups of the customs department and other high placed public office holders who could help the custom officers who illegally distributed such vehicles gain and prolong postings on lucrative money making positions. The seizing custom officers showered the seized vehicles on any one who could help them make money or could help them avert the consequences of their corruption.

Member customs operations told this scribe that currently an audit of SWH, Islamabad was going on to reconcile the records.

He told that in each customs enforcement field formation, there is an ongoing process of detaining goods, seizing and confiscating goods and releasing goods through auctions.

Member Customs operations further told that under customs regulations, periodic stock taking in the customs warehouses had been prescribed. Moreover, he added, the staff of the auditor general of Pakistan conducted regular audits the customs records, files and registers.

However, contradicting all these claims of member customs operations, an officer of the customs Intelligence and Investigation in his letter to the DG customs intelligence revealed that a huge quantity of seized goods placed in the intelligence SWH at Lahore were missing due to which the previous deputy custodian of the ware house avoided to hand over the seized goods to him under a proper handing over exercise and that previous custodian asked him to take the charge on the basis of previous stock-taking held in February 2022. However, he added, the previous stock-taking report was not authentic and correct, as that report had been written about six months ago and did not take into account so many fresh goods deposited in and so many old seizures released from the warehouse during the period.

The custom officer also pointed out that most of the bidders of auctioned goods refused to take delivery of the auctioned goods from the customs state warehouse due to the reasons that the deputy custodian of the warehouse was not in habit of delivering the complete quantity auctioned goods to the bidders. The custom officer’s letter to the DG custom intelligence helps confirm the fact that many seized goods including seized vehicles go missing from the customs warehouses due to collusion of the junior and poor supervision of the supervisory custom officers.

Sources said that the high ups of the customs intelligence were awfully silent in the matter.

On contact, the DG Customs intelligence told that he would check the matter on monday as the matter was prior to the posting of new team in the custom intelligence department. Meanwhile, the sources added hat collusion of the senior customs officers in the misappropriation of the seized goods and their verbal distancing from these misappropriations on one pretext or the other were a usual part in the life cycle of the customs revenue loss scams.

Ends

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