Pakistan Customs Caught Engaging in Warehouse Theft

Theft and embezzlement of confiscated goods in customs warehouses by staff remains a major issue, according to sources cited by NetMag. The problem persists due to a lack of regular audits of these facilities, deliberately not required by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) through law.

In response to complaints, the FBR has taken actions that appear to avoid uncovering the billions of rupees in embezzlement already committed. Rather than ordering nationwide warehouse audits, the FBR instructed customs field units to create new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for raids on private warehouses and the transfer of seized goods to customs facilities. This directive notably omits any plan to investigate the previously committed embezzlement by customs officers.

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Complaints suggest that customs field units conduct raids on private warehouses during early morning hours when owners are absent. The seized goods are then moved to customs warehouses without proper inventory. When owners later provide import documents, they receive significantly fewer goods than seized, implying potential pilferage.

Although the FBR’s letter aims to prevent pilferage during these transfers, it fails to address goods already embezzled during the shifting process.

The letter also does not address the inactions of relevant collectors and chief collectors, holding them accountable for their negligence leading to subordinates’ embezzlement of owners’ goods. It further neglects reports of customs officers embezzling goods seized on roads and subsequently moved to warehouses.

The ongoing fraud and disappearance of warehoused goods highlight a systemic issue, with the FBR indirectly condoning corruption and alleged explicit support from customs collectors through inaction.

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