FIA summons 17 Pakistan Customs officers in famous “speed money” case

Officers to be apprehended for corruption, abuse of power and facilitation of smuggling 

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency has summoned 17 Pakistan Customs officers during the next week in the famous “speed money” case registered in July this year.

According to the details, FIA Anti corruption circle Karachi has directed 17 officers as well as other staff of Pakistan Customs including then Chief Collector of Customs,  Manzoor Hussain Memon, Collector Pakistan Customs Feroz Alam Junejo, Dr. Fareed lqbal Qureshi, (Additional Commissioner IR) Ejaz Ahmed, then Additional Director Pakistan Customs Intelligence in Karachi  Rana Tasleem Akhtar, Superintendent Preventive Service (SPS) Pakistan Customs Iftikhar Hasan, three collectors and several other officers. The officers will have to present themselves with income tax returns, wealth declarations and assets declaration forms between next Tuesday to Thursday.

Abdul Jabbar Mendhro, Assistant Director, Federal Investigation Agency, Anti-Corruption Circle Karachi, will be engaged in the investigation of the case. 

The allegations against the officers are those of corruption, abuse of official power and facilitating smugglers.

It is pertinent to note that FIA ACC Karachi conducted a raid at Jinnah International Airport in July this year and apprehended two Customs officials, identified as Tariq Mehmood, Superintendent (ASO), and Yawar Abbas, Superintendent Operation, while attempting to board Flight No. PA-208 bound for Islamabad.

During the search, the FIA team recovered Rs 5,437,200, US Dollar 2,400, and UAE Dirham 6,100.

Tariq Mehmood and Yawar Abbas confessed that the recovered amount was “speed money” collected from various customs officials, including the concerned Collector, Additional Collector, Deputy Collector, Superintendent, SPS, SPO, and Pos. They also revealed that the monthly collection from all Customs check posts, such as Mochko, Mach Goth, Sohrab Goth, and Ghaggar Phatak, amounted to approximately 40 to 50 million PKR. Additionally, they disclosed that around Rs 60 million was collected in facilitation of the smuggling of betel nut.

The accused Customs officials were subsequently taken to the FIA ACC Karachi for further investigation into their connection with the smugglers and their involvement in facilitating the organized transportation of smuggled goods. During the interrogation, Tariq Mehmood and Yawar Abbas implicated other Customs officers who were also receiving bribes/speed money for facilitating smugglers.

According to the FIR, Saqif Saeed, who was appointed as Director Anti-Smuggling Organization (ASO) in 2020, played a key role in establishing the organized smuggling network. He appointed trusted individuals within the anti-smuggling division to collect speed money from various smugglers. 

Usman Bajwa, who later replaced Saqif Saeed as Director ASO, continued to facilitate the smugglers in exchange for bribes/speed money amounting to approximately Rs 100 million per month. In February 2023, Amir Thaheem assumed the position of Director Anti-Smuggling and also provided protection to smugglers involved in various illegal activities.

The FIR also revealed that Tariq Mehmood disclosed the involvement of Imran Noorani, who operated a smuggling network for betel nut from the border areas of Balochistan to Karachi. Imran Noorani also ran a chhalia factory under the name of M/s Sunny Products in the Shershah Industrial Area of Karachi.

Following the approval of the competent authority, a case has been registered against Tariq Mehmood, Yawar Abbas, Saqif Saeed, Usman Bajwa, Amir Thaheem, Imran Noorani, and others under relevant sections of the law, including the Pakistan Customs Act 1969 and the Prevention of Corruption Act 1947.

Shahzad Paracha
Shahzad Paracha
The writer is a member of Pakistan Today's Islamabad bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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