PESHAWAR: The appointment of director general and three other directors in the recently established Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Revenue Authority (KPRA) under the Excise and Taxation Department has caused suspicion as insiders said the qualification required for the posts were meant to accommodate some particular candidates.
An advertisement by the Excise & Taxation Department appeared in the newspapers on June 2, 2013 inviting applications for the posts of director general, with pay and perks equivalent to grade-22, and four directors (equivalent to grade-21) in the newly-established KPRA.
The KPRA was being launched with high hopes for revival of the poor performance of the Excise and Taxation Department.An official of the department, pleading not to be named, said the prescribed qualification and age limit revealed that it had been tailored to suit someone special. He claimed the advertisement was a mere eyewash and was meant to humiliate candidates who may go through the tiresome process of applications and interviews.
Interestingly, “Political Science” is also among the prescribed qualification and 65 years is the age limit with 25 years experience of a specified nature.He said the qualification and experience can only be met by a former finance secretary who served during the rule of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) in the province and has been a close associate of the incumbent high-ups of the Excise and Taxation Department.
The three directors to be selected are also business partners of the former secretary finance and the advertisement has been drafted to accommodate them as well, the official added. “Nobody in the world can meet the criteria for these positions except the four people (names withheld),” said the officer of the Excise and Taxation Department.
He added the incumbent secretary Excise and Taxation was removed from the post for allowing hundreds of confiscated vehicles for use by irrelevant people and some of these were even sent to Karachi, which compelled the Peshawar High Court to intervene. “Now he has invited applications for the KPRA director general and directors with some strange qualification,” he said, adding that the posts should be filled through the Public Service Commission or serving professionals must be posted against the positions on deputation.
A glaring example of manipulation is that the candidates have been asked to obtain the forms from the office of the secretary Excise and Taxation Department or download it from the website www.fend.com.pk, a consultancy firm being run by Ziaur Rehman, Ismail Butt and Kiramat Rizvi, and the four are expected to get the prized jobs of director general and directors of the tax regulatory authority.
The official said reforms in the Excise and Taxation Department would be the biggest challenge for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led coalition government and the appointment of KPRA directors would be a test case for it.
The unnamed official said it was strange that a government department has placed its official advertisement on the website of a private contractor. He added that all the government advertisements are placed in the official website of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, which is mentioned at the bottom of every advertisement, http://www.khyberpakhtunkhwa.gov.pk/ as a policy.
He felt the PTI-led coalition government should take action against the Excise and Taxation Department officials responsible for putting this particular advertisement in private website and also for the mismanagement in the department.
When contacted, Atif Khan, PTI divisional president and elected MPA who has been nominated as provincial excise and taxation minister, said they would look into the matter and would ask administration about it.
He said they had already set up an institution to check such practices. Atif Khan added that he would bring the matter of KPRA appointments into the notice of Chief Minister Pervez Khattak.He said such kind of manipulation and corruption would bring bad name to the PTI government and they would not tolerate it. “We will ensure transparency in all appointments and the KPRA would be no exception,” he added.