SC asks NAB to complete ISAF containers’ probe | Pakistan Today

SC asks NAB to complete ISAF containers’ probe

Disposing of a suo motu case pertaining to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) container scam, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to conduct a broad inquiry into the matter and submit fortnightly report with the court’s Registrar office.
A three-member bench of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Pervez also made the report of Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) on the issue as part of the order, presumed to be a guiding principle for NAB to probe the matter. The report’s findings claimed that size and scale of the scam indicated its commission and perpetuation was not possible without protection of the senior management in the field as well as the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) headquarters.
It is worth mentioning that in his report, the FTO informed the court that as many as 28,802 commercial Afghan transit trade containers and 3,396 non-commercial containers were known to have not crossed the Pak-Afghan border. At the onset of hearing, counsel for the FBR Raja Muhammad Irshad submitted before the bench that incumbent FBR Chairman Mumtaz Haider Rizvi had some reservations on the report and sought two weeks adjournment in the case, saying that during the given time Rizvi would have to go through the entire exercise relating to the issue. Expressing his annoyance over the contention of Raja Irsahd, the chief justice observed that, “Were we engaged in a futile exercise since two years as we had also engaged the FTO who worked on a report in pursuance of court orders”. “Let the FBR chairman know that the court will not undo the matter,” the CJ said while addressing Irshad.
The CJ remarked now it would be the responsibility of NAB to probe the matter, adding that exporters, transporters and custom authorities were allegedly involved in the containers movement which were containing goods cleared without charging customs etc on the pretext that goods were meant for ISAF, and NATO forces. “Instead of taking the goods to Afghanistan, it were allegedly delivered in Peshawar and Chaman”, the CJ said in his order. During the hearing, NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Fouzi Zafar read out a report pertaining to the NAB inquiries’ detail in the case saying that in the first phase NAB was referred a total of eight complaints from FBR probe committee against eight clearing agents and others, containing 10,012 containers and involving an amount of Rs 19.098 billion in the shape of alleged evaded duties and taxes. He informed that as many as 13 complaints against 26 clearing agents and others, involving 11,979 containers with alleged revenue loss of Rs 22.772 billion along with four other complaints against 237 clearing agents involving 6,811 containers were also sent by the FBR to NAB.
He stated that in addition to such complaints relating to commercial Afghan Transit cargo, a complaint regarding 3,542 non commercial cargos was also received from FBR against about 45 clearing agents. He apprised the bench that NAB also called record from Pakistan Railways and NLC to confirm the transportation of the containers to the destinations. He said after receiving complaints in second phase, record of 24 clearing agents out of 26 was examined, adding that in the cases of non commercial cargo, notices to 39 clearing agents were issued against which 23 agents appeared before the NAB.

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  1. Hasan said:

    how can there be evasion of custom duty,when isaf and nato containers are afghanistan bound DUTY FREE?

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