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July 30, 2020

FBR seeks rapid corruption probe against tax officials

Business

July 30, 2020

KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Wednesday sought immediate conclusion of pending corruption and misconduct inquiries against tax officials – a move that some see as a prelude to forced retirement.

The FBR directed its departments to expedite inquiry proceedings against officials involved in corruption and misconduct.

“Inquiries under the Government Servants Efficiency & Disciplinary (E&D) Rules, 1973, are taking considerable time with inordinate delays,” the FBR said in a letter to chief commissioners, collectors and director generals.

The FBR expressed displeasure over weak performance of inquiry officers that caused delay in proceedings against tax official, according to a letter seen by The News.

The FBR said the E&D rules has not mentioned time-frame to complete inquiry but the cabinet division recently directed that all enquiries pending at any level beyond three months should be finalized on merit, and submitted to the concerned quarters within three months.

The fresh order came on the heels of directives that asked tax offices to submit details of officials in BS-16 and below whose cases qualify for consideration under the Civil Servants (Directory Retirement from Service) Rules, 2020. They were asked to submit the details by August 13 to enable the authorities to convene the meeting of the retirement committee. The FBR sources said the latest instructions clearly are linked to the forced retirement rules, which were introduced in April this year. Under the Civil Servants (Directory Retirement from Services) Rules, 2020, any official found guilty of misconduct as a result of disciplinary action would be forced to retire, they said.

The present rules for retirement for all civil servants from grade 1-22 are applicable on average performance evaluation reports (PERs) or adverse remarks in three or more PERs from three different officers and officials who were twice recommended for supersession by promotion boards, found guilty of corruption, involved in plea bargain or voluntary return with the National Accountability Bureau or placed on more than one occasion in category ‘C’ by promotion boards. The procedure for directory retirement is also clearly specified for mandatory review of all officers/officials upon completion of 20 years of service. “The cases will be referred to the retirement boards and committees after which their decision will be followed through,” said the rules. “A show cause notice will be issued to the civil servant recommended for retirement and he/she will be provided an opportunity of personal hearing under Civil Servants Appeal Rules 1977. After completing the prescribed procedure, if the competent authority is satisfied that further retention in service is not in public interest, officer/officials will be retired with pension and other retirement benefits.”