WATCH: ‘Stolen’ Bentley, Bulgarian embassy, Sindh govt & tax evasion
The Bulgarian Embassy on Tuesday requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to cancel the registration of the allegedly “stolen Bentley from UK” that was recovered by the Pakistan Customs over the weekend from a house in Karachi’s affluent Defence Housing Authority.
In its letter to the foreign ministry, the Embassy of Bulgaria maintained that they did not have possession of the car and feared it could be misused for some illegal activity.
The car was ordered by a former Bulgarian ambassador to Pakistan in November 2019 and was cleared at the port through documentation provided by the foreign embassy.
It is pertinent to mention that diplomats are allowed to order duty-free vehicles. The vehicles can be used without paying the duty till the diplomats are serving in the home country.
This luxury vehicle was bought to Pakistan on the basis of an exemption certificate 6021.
According to sources, any vehicle bought by a foreign ambassador is allotted a special number. Similarly, the Bentley was allotted CD-09-13. These vehicles cannot be driven by anyone except the ambassador himself.
However, this car was sold later.
The foreign affairs ministry had written to Pakistan Customs, a copy of which is available with SAMAA TV, wherein it confirmed that the car had been imported into the country and registered as a diplomatic vehicle.
However, the ministry clarified that it was never asked to deregister the vehicle nor was permission sought for its sale.
In the letter, the MoFa asked Customs to conduct an operation to retrieve the stolen vehicle.
The foreign affairs ministry said Bulgaria’s current ambassador to Pakistan has distanced himself from the stolen Bentley, saying that “He does not have the car and its registration should be cancelled.”
The MoFa had asked the Deputy Collector Customs Enforcement Karachi to recover the car after which a raid was carried out on the house where the vehicle was parked.
It is now evident that the car was brought to Pakistan lawfully and was cleared through diplomatic assistance.
Sindh’s Excise and Taxation Department registered the luxury car on the name of the former Bulgarian ambassador while the Bentley had already been allotted a number earlier when it was imported.
The question that arises now is that through which law was a foreign diplomat registered in the local tax system.
The Customs has also nominated Sindh’s excise department in the first information report registered for the case.
The value of the car is more than $0.5 million in the international market which is at least 120 million Pakistani rupees. The duty of the car after arriving in Pakistan rests at 300 million rupees.
Currently, the car is in the possession of Pakistan Customs.