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Home » Politics: Bangladesh » >grafts reign supreme in import trade: The Daily Star investigation

>grafts reign supreme in import trade: The Daily Star investigation

>THE system for pre-shipment inspection (PSI) of imports has become riddled with corruption, and plagued by tax dodging and money laundering, depriving the country of huge amounts of revenue, Syed Ashfaqul Haque and Julfikar Ali Manik write in The Daily Star after an investigation.
The first installment of a series of investigative reports by the duo came out today.
Behind the large scale corruption is a nexus of some businessmen, politicians, taxmen and PSI staff who have plundered government revenues since the system was made mandatory in 2000.

The exact amount the scams have cost the country is difficult to know, but businessmen and revenue experts believe the sum is well in excess of 1,000 crore taka a year.
Now the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has been forced to act, cancelling the license of one PSI company and launching probes into the activities of others.
“NBR will go for instant actions, if it finds any PSI company involved in irregularities,” NBR Chairman Muhammad Abdul Mazid told The Daily Star.
“Though we have cancelled license of one company, but none of the three others is innocent.”

The PSI system was introduced to help the National Board of Revenue (NBR) generate revenue by minimising corruption in customs and ending hassle for importers in clearing goods.
However it is now being abused at will, and swamped by phoney declarations, under or over invoicing, false inspections and fraudulent certification of consignments.

“Name whatever latest weapon or luxury item you want, it can be smuggled in as any legal item. Let’s not bother about the duty!” says a top player in the syndicate that controls much of the PSI business with a laugh.
In the course of investigation, The Daily Star came to know about numerous abuses: Rolls Royce without doors was imported as non-usable vehicle to dodge hefty taxes.
The doors arrived in different container, and the super luxury vehicle was seen on the Dhaka roads complete with snugly fitting doors. In another case, an exclusive Mercedes Benz was landed at Chittagong port and declared as scrap although it was in pristine condition.

Next Installments:
Hummer hums graft galore in imports
Graft goes institutional amid lax NBR watch
PSI system of imports to stay till 2009-end

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