It is all about a nexus between five corrupt customs officials and three clearing and forwarding (C&F) agents who are allegedly earning big amounts by releasing imported casino equipment, liquor and cigarette illegally.
About 70 percent of those imported goods made their way into the country through the Dhaka Inland Container Depot and 25 percent came through the Pangaon container terminal.
The disclosure came through an intelligence report which has recently been submitted to the Prime Minister's Office. The Business Standard has obtained a copy of it.
The report said all of them have close association with expelled Jubo League leader Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan who was arrested for running illegal casino and money laundering.
The five customs officials are – Commissioner Md Anwar Hossain, Additional Commissioner Mohammad Mahmudul Hasan, Preventive Assistant Commissioner Kaniz Farhana Shimu, Preventive Inspector Tuhinul Haque and Assistant Commissioner Abul Kashem.
A source at the National Board of Revenue said Kaniz Farhana Shimu is the ex-wife of casino mastermind Selim Pradhan.
The three C&F agents are Lavlu of ST Bangladesh Ltd Trading, Farhad, owner of Sugandha International and MM International, and Ashraf, owner of Ketraborti Trade Syndicate.
The intelligence agency came to know that the C&F agents have evaded several hundred crores of taka in taxes.
Preventive Inspector Tuhinul Haque has made at least Tk500 crore this way.
Per day income of Additional Commissioner Mahmudul Hasan is more than Tk50 lakh.
They forcefully realise crores of taka from every C&F agent and importer.
A few months ago, a transfer order was issued for Mahmudul Hasan. But the syndicate of Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan, three C&F agents and Preventive Inspector Tuhinul Haque stopped his transfer by bribing Tk3 crore.
A top official of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Department is also involved with them.
A video footage from two months ago, obtained by the intelligence agency, showed the C&F agents and Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan in different times met with the CIID top official at the latter's office.
In the last one and a half years, the C&F agents have issued bills of entry and released goods every day without any inspection.
There were 10-100 casino instruments and other products in each commercial invoice.
It is very surprising how it is possible to inspect the papers of those goods and issue the delivery order on the same day. It never happened before in the history of the Dhaka Inland Container Deport, the report said.
In exchange for crores of taka, this syndicate is releasing illegal goods every day.
The C&F agents do not have any tax file.
During the audit of their papers, many irregularities have surfaced. It has been found that there is no similarity between products declaration and delivered goods.
It is also found that the demand orders of shipping line differ from bills of entry. There is also a mismatch between delivery challans and tracking numbers.
A big amount of money was found after checking their bank accounts.
When contacted, Commissioner Md Anwar Hossain said he does not know Khaled, and declined to make any comment over the intelligence report involving his corruption.