Forgery gang runs rampant at Ctg port
A gang consisting of clearing and forwarding (C&F) agents and importers had at least 4,000 consignments released from the Chattogram port through forgery over the last two years.
The gang stole and misused the identities of two former customs officials of the Chittagong Custom House for the crime, CIID officials said. One of the two officials was on retirement while the other had been transferred.
The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate officials said they identified seven active members of the gang. One of them was arrested from the capital's Kakrail area yesterday.
The arrestee is Mizanur Rahman, owner of M/S MR Trade International and Chakladar C&F Agent Limited.
CIID officials said they found evidence that the criminals entered the customs' server using the IDs of former revenue officer DAM Muhibul Islam, who went on retirement in 2015, and Fazlul Haque, currently working at the Dhaka Custom House.
Both the officials were posted to the Chittagong Customs House from 2013 to 2016 and they discharged various duties, they said, adding that the scam that surfaced had been carried out after the two left the port.
The CIID officials were investigating if the two officials in question had any links with the crime.
“Those consignments were released from the port between 2016 and 2018 through forgery,” said Abdul Hakim, additional director general of the CIID. He added that more than 4,000 consignments may have been released from the port this way.
“We have formed a committee to investigate the matter and determine the revenue loss in the scam,” he said.
According to sources at the CIID, customs officials “locked” the release order of a consignment on the server on June 25 last year, suspecting it was imported through misdeclaration.
However, the importer, with the help of the gang members, “unlocked” the consignment using Muhibul's ID on September 26 that year without permission from the CIID, the sources said. Similar things happened in the cases of around 4,000 consignments.
CIID Director General Shahidul Islam said, “It seems mysterious how the IDs of a retired officer and a transferred officer were active. As per the rules, the IDs should have been deactivated as soon as the officers concerned had gotten transferred or gone on retirement.”
“It proves that this gang is well-organised. We are investigating if any NBR official is involved,” he added.
Contacted, CCH Commissioner AKM Nuruzzamn said, “I have been informed about this matter. A committee has been formed to probe the incident.”
He said he found evidence on 291 similar incidents last month but would not give any details.