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January 20, 2015

Excise Department fails to check agent mafia


January 20, 2015

AFTER making several failed attempts to control the agent mafia at Excise and Taxation Department during past, excise officials made another attempt by deputing only two excise constables to stop the agents’ entry in the E&T building, The News has learnt.
Agents in abetment with excise officials have been looting the citizens for past many years at E&T offices but no serious attempt has been made so far to control it.
Several incidents of fraud in the name of life token tax and fake transfer of vehicles were reported but despite that no measures have been taken by the E&T officials. Citizens are the easiest target of agents as they remain present at every nook and corner of E&T building and at the entry point of Excise office every visitor has to tell the agents for their work as majority of agents pretend to be excise officials. They just ask the visitors about their work and then simply took them to one window hall of Motor Branch where their files are being submitted without any token number. Only one information desk is established in E&T office but no visitor could manage to visit it as the number of visitors is too high and it is not possible to handle such a huge number of visitors by one receptionist.
Recently, a scam of life time token tax of 1000 cc vehicles was reported where several unknown excise agents in abetment with excise officials fraudulently received huge amounts from citizens against their vehicles’ life time token tax and issued fake invoices. The vehicles owners came to know about this fraud when they sold their vehicles and came to excise office for its transfer. Muhammad Shafiq, a victim of agent mafia, told The News that he submitted his car bearing number LZL 1473 token tax through an agent who met him inside the Excise office. He said after few months he again visited the Excise office for the transfer of his car where the computer section officer of Motor Branch told him that his life time token tax were still

pending and first he had to submit the life time token tax for its vehicle transfer. When he showed the invoice to Excise officer, he himself was surprised as the invoice was the same like the original with a hidden embossed government logo.
He said that when he informed the Director Motor Branch about the said fraud, he simply asked him to pay the token tax again as no one guided him to submit his token tax via excise agent. He said he had to pay life time token tax again while no action was taken by the E&T high-ups against that agent and the excise officer who issued the invoice from computer to agent.
Surprisingly, no data of these so-called agents working under the garb of E&T officials have been compiled by E&T Department and no one could file even a police complaint against these agents as they have been working without any legal licence or identity besides they also don’t have any fix place for makeshift offices.
A senior Excise officer, on condition of anonymity, told The News that if the E&T officials made a positive attempt in removal of agents, then it could easily be removed from E&T Department but the commission on each file is the basic reason for agents’ presence.
Talking to The News, a visitor namely Faizan Qazi, said that he came here for the transfer of his vehicle which he recently sold to his friend. He said he was just five minutes late while the motor branch computer section timings was over and the staff refused to take his file. But the same staff was receiving the files from other visitors who came along with agents. He said he tried to tell this scribe to higher officials but their peon didn’t allow them to get in their offices.
When contacted, Secretary E&T Punjab Ali Tahir, who recently took charge of E&T Punjab, said there were several issues which needed to be resolved on immediate basis and the agent mafia issue was at the top of the list.
Secretary Ali Tahir said latest information technology would be utilised and soon the role of agents would be eliminated from all sections of E&T Departments. Some new modification would be made in the Excise Motor Branch Database so that the presence of real owners must be ensured and agents would be helpless then, Ali Tahir added. When live snapshot would be the part of Motor Branch online Database, then no agent could come there and in near future they themselves would be eliminated.

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