Betel leaf importer arrested in Rs 2.6bln scam

LAHORE: National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Lahore arrested another betel leaf importer, Rashid Shams, for causing a loss of Rs 16.58 million to the national exchequer by evading/mis-calculating Customs Duty on import of the commodity in a renowned Rs 2.6 billion corruption case.

According to NAB spokesman, under the Pak-Sri Lanka Trade Agreement, betel leaf is being imported from Sri Lanka and India. Through evasion and miscalculation of Customs Duty with the connivance of Customs officers, various private importers managed to misappropriate Rs 2.6 billion, collectively.

In this case, NAB Lahore has already arrested 10 other accused earlier. Rashid Shams was arrested on Tuesday from Lahore who kept importing betel leaf during 2008-12 through M/s Al-Shams Traders and managed to embezzle Rs 16.58 million by paying far less duty in a government designated bank compared with the amounts shown on the hard copies of Goods Declaration (GDs).

NAB Lahore would produce Rashid Shams in an accountability court on Wednesday for seeking his physical remand for further investigation.

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