FBR’s inquiries against ‘corrupt’ civil servants fail to reach conclusion



ISLAMABAD: Unending inquiries initiated against senior officers in Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) seem only stuffing the files as nothing has come out of it on a serious note, besides the officers charged under corruption, inefficiency and misconduct have to wait a long to get cleared from them.

A set of documents compiled by the FBR clearly indicates that an inquiry is under process against Muhammad Asghar Khan, director of FBR I&I Directorate, Peshawar (PCS/BS-19), and Junaid Usman Akram, deputy collector at MCC (PACCS) Karachi (PCS/BS-18).

Both of them have been accused of misappropriation of the recovered foreign currency, patronising corrupt official, as well as allegedly rejecting the requests made by the appraising officers for examination of imported goods and had directed assessment without examination.

Furthermore, the charges of misdeclaration, favouring taxpayers in audit cases and illegal and inadmissible income tax refunds against Basharat Ahmed Quershi, Muhammad Sharif Awan, Shahar Bano Walajani and Shah Bano (BS-20) had been proved; subsequently the department moved a summary to the prime minister for obtaining an ex-post facto approval for authorization of the Revenue Division secretary as the authorised officer. However, a stay has been granted in the matter by the Sindh High Court.

In another case, two officers of the bureau, Ghulam Mustafa Rahu (IRS/Bs-20) and Agha Hidayat Ullah (IRS/BS-20) were named separately in the issuance of illegal exemption certificates. Hitherto, no charges have been proven; however, Hiyadatullah has retired before the culmination of the proceeding.

Muhammad Mustafa Kamal (IRS/BS-19) has not allegedly declared his spouse’s investment in annual declaration of assets. The charges have been proved against him and he was removed from the services, documents disclosed.

Hammal Baloch (IRS/BS-19) was involved in the issuance of bogus sales tax refunds in two cases amounting to Rs 27 million Rs 17 million, respectively. He is however cleared of the charges. Another officer, Naseer Janjua (IRS/BS-19) was exonerated from the charges of mishandling.

The documents further said that Abdul Hameed Abro, Jawhar Ali Shah and  Naeem Babar (IRS/BS-18) have been charged with issuance of legally inadmissible bogus refunds, amounting of Rs172 million as well as purchasing a house in Sydney at the declared cost of Rs 10m with giving the sources of purchase respectability.

The competent authority imposed a minor and major penalty of stoppage of increment for the two years and reduction to a lower stage in the current timescale of three years.

In another case of embezzlement, the charges of discrepancies in an annual assets declaration as well as giving non-specific test report were filed against the Shamsuz Zaman and Syed Shoaib Raza (PCS, Ex-Cadre/BS-18).  A major penalty of withholding of annual increments for two years without cumulative effect was imposed by the authorised officer.

The documents indicated that more than 120 officers of customs department working in different stations of the country were involved in alleged theft 7, 000 Afghan transit trade containers that went missing from 2008 to 2010. The inquiry has been completed but the case is pending in the apex court.

Moreover, a number of officials were found involved in the wrong assessment of imported consignment of wheat and the unlawful release of gateway exchange after obtaining illegal gratification. They have given major or minor penalties, it has been learnt.

MCC Karachi and Peshawar officials, Nazir Ahmad Qureshi, Ahmad Azeem and Nizamuddin from accused of replacing the expensive mobile phones, seized by the authority, with the cheap ones.

They have also been charged with misdeclaration in quantity and quality of the goods.

A minor penalty of “withholding of four and annual increments with cumulative effects” was imposed. Ghulam Murtaza, SM Fawad, Khizra Saeed, Muhammad Bilal from MCC port Qasim Karachi and MCC Preventive Lahore were charges for wrong assessment of imported consignment of wheat and the unlawful release of gateway exchange after obtaining illegal gratification.

The department imposed a major penalty of “reduction to a lower stage in time scale (two stages lower) of all of these accused officers.”

On the other hand, a number of inquiries have been underway against a BS-16 officer of IRS who allegedly issued fake and bogus refunds.  The officers involved Mirza Muhammad Ali Baig, Masoodur Rehman, Amjad Qudus, Muhammad Afzal Dogar and Muhammad Akram, Amjad Ali Khan, Shahbaz Khan, Anser Majeed and Arif Hussain Hashmi.

Mirza Muhammad Ali Baig has colluded with a known bogus refund mafia leader Faraz Haroon and was caught red-handed while assisting him in an RTO-III, Karachi, in the processing of files. The charges have been proved and a notice issued was issued to him in this regard.

Masoodur Rehman, Amjad Qadus, Muhammad Afzal Dogar and Muhammad Akram were arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), KP, on account of involvement in the issuance of fake and bogus refunds. The cases of above-mentioned officers are pending with the NAB. The departmental action will be taken upon the culmination of NAB proceeding.

Amjad Ali Khan had charges of misused official log in and illegally issued electronic approval for revision of income tax returns e-filed by Pathology Associates, in respect of tax years 2011, 2012, and 2013. The charges have not been proved against him and a case is being finalised.

Meanwhile, an inquiry has been pending against the Arif Hussain Hashmi, computer operator (BS-16), who have a charge of facilitating the A.R Enterprise and Ahsan Enterprise Karachi and twenty other firms, using identical nomenclature of the actual registered persons, and filed fake claims of sales tax refund for the tax period April 2006 to Oct 2008, amounting to Rs 141 million and obtained refunds against such claims fraudulently.

Two FIRs, one in each case, have been lodged in the court of Special Judge (Customs and Taxation) Karachi.  However, the inquiry is pending against him.

When Pakistan Today contacted FBR spokesperson to inquire about the progress of these probes, he pleaded ignorance while adding that recently a letter was also issued by the department to all the concern officers that asked them to complete the inquires as early as possible.