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January 15, 2018
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FBR’s NRO with its officers facing 300 inquiries

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January 15, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has struck an NRO for all practical purposes with its officers in case of 300 inquiries as no penny was retrieved from alleged siphoned off money worth Rs100 billion at least in the shape of alleged payment of fake tax refunds, frauds, misuse of authority and possessing assets beyond means.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had sent out official communication to the FBR titled “Issue of Good Governance in the FBR” a couple of months back and sought detailed report about pending inquiries against officers.

The FBR had replied back by arguing that mostly the officers got restored through the Service Tribunal, high courts or Supreme Court of Pakistan but many of them remained suspended for months and years.

However, the sources pointed out that identifiable proof existed in some cases where the FBR’s own Intelligence & Investigation (I&I) Inland Revenues (IR) had issued red alerts on issuance of bogus/fake tax refunds and rebates in connivance with the FBR’s tax machinery and this hard cash went into some bank accounts but nothing concrete came out of it as some officers remained suspended but the money never came back into the national kitty. “Has any money retrieved in such cases?” the sources raised question.

When someone had stolen Rs10 from our house we never thought to go him or her scot free but it is quite unfortunate that billions of rupees taxpayers’ money was siphoned off but no concrete step was taken against those who had played a key role in such heinous crimes.

There are inquiries conducted in cases where alleged misuse of authority was done by the officers. In one such case, a female officer who has been currently serving in Karachi had allegedly made wrong assessment in case of one air conditioner manufacturer and caused loss of Rs450 million to national exchequer.

After remaining suspended, the said officer got restored after one and half year and she was under consideration for promotion through recently held Central Selection Board (CSB). Another officer who was possessing assets beyond means got free after passing through suspension and now promoted into next grade.

There was a classic case few years back in which son of influential person who was serving as assistant director at Customs had sold confiscated vehicles at throw away prices thus case was registered against him.

Meanwhile, the said officer had passed CSS exams and selected into Police Group but he was asked to get away from this pending inquiry against him. The then chairman FBR had exonerated him from the inquiry that paved the way for joining him as Police officer.

The official sources said that the FBR had decided to do away with pending inquiries in bulk few years back when files against appraisers and other small staff were closed down forever. When contacted, FBR’s top officials said that the FBR was focusing improving efficiency of commissioners and deputy commissioners’ levels as the Board recently sought report from field formation to this account. “We will focus on lower staff as the alleged corruption has become major phenomena creating problems for small and medium taxpayers,” said the official and added that the FBR would have to demonstrate deterrence to curb corrupt practices. Although, director general Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had recently visited the FBR’s headquarters and held meeting with Chairman FBR Tariq Pasha. When contacted to FBR’s official spokesman Dr Iqbal said that DG FIA had made courtesy call with the chairman FBR and the meeting was not aimed at sending any alleged wrongdoing cases to FIA. “The FBR spared no one for giving maximum punishment under the rules and regulation but if someone gets relief from relevant forums so the FBR cannot be held responsible,” he added.

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