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Few ‘notorious’ officials of Customs Intelligence misuse authority, demand bribe at pickets on highways

Few ‘notorious’ officials of Customs Intelligence misuse authority, demand bribe at pickets on highways

ISLAMABAD: Importers of Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad and Islamabad have sought Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Tariq Pasha’s attention towards the unchecked gross misconduct and misuse of authority by some of the officers of Directorate General of intelligence, FBR across the country.

Importers revealed that some ‘notorious officers’ are involved in such malpractice and misconduct by adopting the modus operendi that they while patrolling or setting out the Nakas/Pickets on highways particularly on the route from Karachi to Punjab, used to stop the lawfully imported goods cleared from port with mala-fide intentions and ulterior motives on the pretext of routine checking and after cursory checking, bribe is demanded from importer by extending threat that if he does not fulfil their illegal demands, goods would be detained and seized by charging/framing that importer cleared the goods from wrong PCT head or at wrong values despite knowingly that Directorates of Intelligence has no authority in this regard.

Importers further said that the aforesaid malpractice has become the routine of such notorious officers resulting in high corruption in our society and importers, under their threat, prefer to give bribe rather than facing their wrath and one who refuses to fulfil their illegal demands, his goods are detained on the road under the pretext of re-examination, and valuation assessments are made, case of mis-declaration is lodged despite the fact that all these actions of such officers are entirely illegal as no powers u/s 25 and u/s 32 of Customs ACT, 1969 (Mis-declaration) has been conferred upon Customs Intelligence as is evident from their exercising SRO486(I)2007 dated:09.06.2017 (Annex-A) wherein exercising powers has been conferred to Directorate of Intelligence and bare perusal of which reveals that section 25 and section 32 have not been inserted in above referred SRO.

It is worthy to mention that even the Honorable Superior Courts have repeatedly held that Customs Directorate General of Intelligence does not have mandate to examine, assess or seize goods that are already cleared by the appropriate appraisement staff. They have emphatically held that the said Directorate does not have powers to exercise or invoke section 25 or section 32 (mis-declaration) of Customs Act, 1969. [Refer The Honorable High Court Judgments 2005 P T D 23 (Annex- B) and 2004 P T D 2994 (Annex – C)].

Sources added that the Honorable Superior Courts have repeatedly held that the domain of Customs Directorate of Intelligence is to stop smuggling. But when it’s certain staffers are busy in their illegal activities of examination and assessments of already cleared goods then they lose their focus on stopping smuggling rather even allow smuggled goods to transfer from place to place in lieu of bribes. Thus our country suffers trillions of rupees losses in smuggling and corruption at the hands of such few notorious staff of the Customs Directorate of Intelligence.

Sources revealed that DIT Sukkur recently seized the goods which were lawfully cleared from port by appraisement staff and one notorious Inspector of DIT Liaqat Ali stopped on road a truck and on refusal to fulfill his illegal demands by importer, he made out the case of mis-declaration and goods along with vehicle were seized unlawfully.

Genuine importers are disturbed on routine basis by such few officers of the DIT and they have finally approached the FBR chairman Tariq Pasha for redressal of their issues. They demanded of the FBR Chairman to take necessary action against the notorious officers for the eradication of corrupt practice and gross misconduct.