The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) has found evidence of ten exporters laundering Tk300 crore in the name of RMG exports through forgery of export permission (EXP) from fake authorised dealers.
The matter came to light after the CIID found a disparity between the bill of export and EXP of the 10 exporters, reads a press release issued by the directorate yesterday.
The exporters are Progga Fashion Limited, Fashion Trade, MDS Fashion, Hong Kong Fashions Limited, Three-star Trading, Fortune Fashion, Pixi Knitwears Limited, Stylise BD Limited, and Eden Style Tex.
The CIID also mentioned that the companies forged their bill of export to use the export permission documents of other companies.
During its investigation, the directorate also found evidence that the exporters fabricated 1,234 consignments.
With these 1,234 challans/consignments, around $35.36 million (equivalent to Tk300 crore), were supposed to proceed against 9,121 tonnes of products, the release said.
Mohammad Fakhrul Alam, director general of the CIID, told The Business Standard, "The process of taking legal action against the accused institutions has been initiated."
At least four of the accused firms are said to be members of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), a body of garment industry owners.
When contacted, phone numbers of the four companies listed on the BGMEA website were found either unavailable or unanswered.
Besides, it could not be confirmed whether the remaining companies are members of any organisation.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong Fashions, a member of BGMEA, has denied the allegations.
The company's Director Golam Mohiuddin told The Business Standard, "Our organisation was asked [by CIID] about the payment of 156 shipping bills from 2018 to 2020. But we know nothing about such exports.
"I have not received anything like sales contracts, export LCs. Utility declaration (UD) is to be taken for import of raw materials for export. But I didn't take any such UD from BGMEA. Our lien bank is an Islamic bank. They also know nothing. But it is showing exports in our name."
CIID also found the companies mentioned the weight of each t-shirt as 500-1,000 grams in its bill of export. However, each kilogram of knit fabric can produce at least 3-6 long-sleeved L-size t-shirts.
Going through the documents of the exporters, CIID found out these exporters used forged documents to export t-shirts, tops, ladies' jeans, trousers, baby sets and polo shirts.
These shipments were supposedly sent to mostly non-traditional markets including the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Australia, Thailand, Sudan, France, Slovenia, Panama, Tonga, Oman, Brunei and Nigeria.
C&F agents in these cases were - MAJ Shipping Corporation, A&J Trade International, GR Trading Corporation, NH Corporation, KRS C&F Ltd, Pan Bengal Agency, Porag SMS Ltd, Riyanka International, and AK Enterprise.