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Accused officers of Customs Department still serving in collusion

Accused officers of Customs Department still serving in collusion

PESHAWAR: Officers from the top Customs Department, including Deputy Collector Athar Naveed facing inquiries on the charges of corruption and inefficiency, are still serving at key positions in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

The inquiry against Deputy Collector Athar Naveed was initiated after the arrest of appraisers for clearing illegal consignments in 2015. After a complete proof against the Deputy Collector and his team, no hard order was passed against Deputy Collector nor was any punishment awarded to him.

Deputy Collector Athar Naveed too has been accused by FBR’s inquiries and investigation carried out by the National Accountability Bureau but he has been posted as Deputy Collector, Dry Port Peshawar, where 701 illegal consignments caused the national exchequer a loss of Rs9billion.

There are about 76 Customs Officers of the Model Custom Collectorate (MCC) Peshawar and MCC Quetta against whom inquiries were initiated years ago but could not reach logical end due to various reasons.

The sources informed Customs Today on Monday that Pakistan suffers a loss of Rs3.2trillion annually due to weak administration and non-compliant taxpayers system. In the past, the FBR has proven the charge that Shahar Bano Walajahi, a grade-20 officer, was given undue favor of Rs429.8million by deleting a demand that she herself generated after going through the record. The officer has obtained a stay order from the court. Despite the fall of four years, the FBR has done nothing significant in the case.

Similarly in the case of Shah Bano Khan, the inquiry report is awaited for three years on the allegations of giving Rs13.9million benefit to a taxpayer but till date no order has been passed by Customs Department to eliminate the corrupt officers.

Similarly four Customs Officers of grade-17 found guilty of wrong assessments of imported consignments were given penalty of two time scale-demotions. But they were not removed from their positions. They were principal appraisers and examiners which are considered lucrative posts at the FBR.