LAHORE: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan, FBR Chairman Tariq Pasha and Member Customs Zahid Khokhar are determined to eradicate corruption from the FBR and Customs department.
On special directive of PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi; Haroon Akhtar Khan, Tariq Pasha and Zahid Khokhar directed the FBR and Customs high-ups to hold inquiries on complaints of corruption and misuse of powers against customs staff and officers, who are specially working in field offices, on priority and transparent basis.
It is worthy to mention that Haroon Akhtar had marked inquiry against ‘corrupt’ Appraiser Naeem Khan posted at Port Qasim for blackmailing the genuine importers and delaying clearance of their consignments to demand speed money. Haroon Akhtar had taken the notice on complaints of importers. He is working for facilitating importers and exporters. Now same appraiser is transferred from Port Qasim to Appraisement West, Karachi by Chief Collector Abdur Rasheed Sheikh.
Sources told Customs Today, Appraiser Muhammad Naeem Khan posted at Port Qasim was allegedly involved in rampant corruption, undermining the anti-corruption campaign vigorously launched by Chief Collector South Abdul Rasheed Sheikh.
Sources asserted, “Appraiser Naeem Khan had a bad repute and track record. Such persons should not be allowed to work at important posts at Port Qasim to upset the genuine importers.”
A few ‘corrupt’ officials deployed at different departments of Port Qasim Karachi have been misusing their powers to blackmail the genuine importers, causing billions of dollars losses to the national exchequer but Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and NAB chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal ordered the FBR high-ups to expose names of corrupt officials and bring them to the justice.
Recently, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi directed Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) chairman Tariq Pasha to submit a detailed report on the ‘integrity’ of FBR members, officers heading strategic units of the FBR.
He said this in a ‘strong worded letter’ addressed to the FBR chairman. The letter further stated that it was brought to the knowledge of the prime minister that no action was taken against FBR officials whose involvement in corruption was already established by the FBR; and that most of the officers with highly compromised reputations are heading the most crucial establishments of the FBR.
Similarly, the FBR had established that an officer ‘held assets beyond means’ but in February he was posted at a senior post in RTO Karachi, regardless of the matter. It was also proven by the FBR that another high official gave undue favour of Rs429.8 million to a taxpayer.
The prime minister has directed the FBR chairman to submit details of cases of all officials, officers of BPS-16 and above belonging to the Pakistan Customs Services, Inland Revenue Services and other cadres of the FBR, who’re holding offices regardless of the fact that formal proceedings have been initiated against them by FBR, from June 2013 onwards.
After assuming his role as the premiere of the country, PM Abbasi had announced that broadening the tax base was one of his first priorities.
Similarly, the NAB chairman has ordered to tighten the noose around ‘corrupt’ FBR and Customs officials. In a recent action, the NAB officials arrested a Peshawar Customs Appraiser Hidayat Ullah for his alleged involvement in corruption. As per the NAB KP the accused Hidayat Ullah was allegedly involved in corruption & corrupt practices and misuse of authority in causing huge loss of approximately Rs.4000 million to national exchequer.
Meanwhile, the NAB Lahore arrested nine customs officials, clearing agents and importers over allegations of embezzlement in import of betel leaf from India and Sri Lanka.
Sources told Customs Today, the NAB had received a complaint regarding embezzlement in customs duty, causing a loss of Rs 2.6 billion to the national exchequer between 2007 and 2012. Those arrested include Ghulam Murtaza, Muhammad Fayyaz, Muhammad Shakeel, Khairat Ali, Shahid Hussain Bhutta, Rehan Elahi, Rashid Yaqoob, Muhammad Saeed and Abdul Khaliq Zaki.
It seems that under the supervision of Justice (r) Javed Iqbal the NAB will further speed up the action against ‘corrupt’ officials all departments including Customs. After PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s letter, the FBR chairman will also accelerate the process of cleaning the Customs Department from ‘corrupt’ elements for the growth of import and export activities and ultimate survival of Pakistan.