Ship Breaking : FIA Cracks Down on Corruption and Illegal Currency Exchange
In a significant move against corruption, the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Anti-Corruption Circle (ACC) recently conducted a raid on an illegal shipbreaking terminal, uncovering its involvement in a staggering loss of Rs265 million. The FIA’s Anti-Corruption Circle in Karachi, under the directive of Director Zaim Iqbal Sheikh and the supervision of Additional Director Javed Baloch, took decisive action against the illicit activities of a corruption-infested mafia.
The operation targeted a private port terminal, where a non-transparent sale of six ships (barges) owned by the port management had taken place. Shockingly, these vessels were sold to local buyers for a total sum of Rs265 million, with the entire transaction conducted through encashing, bypassing any semblance of transparency in the buying and selling process.
Further investigation revealed that the private port administration had not only engaged in opaque financial dealings but had also undertaken the scrapping and breaking of ships (barges) without adhering to customs taxes and obtaining the necessary No Objection Certificate (NOC) from relevant agencies.
During the raid, the cutting and breaking process of four ships (barges) were found to be in blatant violation of established rules and regulations. Additionally, it was discovered that two ships had already been sold in the Sher Shah Kabari Market after undergoing full scraping. Subsequently, an inquiry numbered 86/2023 was registered within the FIA Anti-Corruption Circle in Karachi to ascertain the involvement of the private port terminal management and other entities connected to the port. The scrapping and breaking activities were immediately suspended pending the completion of the inquiry, with ongoing investigations to unearth further details.
In a separate case highlighting the agency’s multi-faceted approach to combating corruption, the FIA’s State Banking Circle Karachi took the lead in a crackdown against individuals engaged in hawala and hundi, as well as illegal currency exchange.
Deputy Director Ayaz Mehar supervised the raid, which resulted in the apprehension of a key figure in an illegal currency exchange gang, Noor Mohammad, from Garden East. Notably, the accused was found in possession of millions of rupees worth of domestic and foreign currency.
Noor Mohammad was implicated in the illicit exchange of currency through hawala and hundi channels, as well as engaging in foreign exchange without the necessary license. The raid yielded the recovery of 2,600 US dollars, 650 UAE dirhams, and Rs3.1 million from the accused, along with two mobile phones and various hundi/hawala-related materials, including registers and messages. Despite the substantial recovery, the accused failed to provide satisfactory explanations to the authorities.
Even more alarming was the revelation that the private port administration had scrapped and broken the ships (barges) without paying customs taxes and obtaining the necessary No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from relevant agencies. During the raid, the cutting and breaking process of four ships (barges) were found to be in violation of established rules and regulations, while two ships had already been sold in the Sher Shah Kabari Market after complete scrapping. Consequently, an inquiry numbered 86/2023 was registered in the FIA Anti-Corruption Circle Karachi to thoroughly investigate the role of the private port terminal management and other entities involved. The scrapping and breaking process of barges was promptly suspended pending the completion of the inquiry, with further investigations currently underway.
An ongoing investigation is underway to delve into the intricacies of the illegal currency exchange operation, with additional raids being conducted to apprehend other suspects involved in this nefarious activity. The FIA’s concerted efforts in both shipbreaking and illegal currency exchange cases underscore its commitment to tackling corruption across different sectors, contributing to a more transparent and accountable society.