KARACHI: Federal Board of Revenue’s Member Customs Muhammad Zahid Khokhar has ordered Collector of Model Customs Collectorate Port Muhammad Bin Qasim to conduct inquiry against a corrupt Principle Appraiser and directed to redress the grievances of importers and clear their consignments according to law without any delay.
Member Customs Zahid Khokhar has taken serious notice on the news items published in print media and complaints of trade bodies’ representatives regarding the Principle Appraiser of Port Muhammad Bin Qasim. Member Customs has directed Port Qasim Collector Saeed Akram to investigate the issue and submit the inquiry report as soon as possible.
Khokhar has also instructed the collector to take action on valid and legitimate complaints, and if anyone is found guilty, deal with him according to law and govt rules and regulations. He expressed the commitment that he will make field formations corruption-free. He remarked this is the primary responsibility of Customs officers and officials to do their duties with honesty and devotion.
It is pertinent to mention here that importers have been complaining for the last few days about their grievances due to highhandedness of few corrupt officials at Port Qasim. Chambers and trade bodies have also recently received dozens of complaints from importers about rampant corruption by few black sheep at Port Qasim.
Importers are suffering at the hands of corrupt officials especially PA Shahid Rizvi posted at CIU Port Qasim and his companion, Rana, who are using different illegal tactics to harass the importers and delay their consignments for at least 20 days. Even Rana is used to threaten these importers of physical harm if they refuse to pay the speed money.
These lower cadre Customs officials have been discouraging legal imports and promoting smuggling of above Rs 20 billion by wrongly causing financial losses to legal importers, various harassments, and pushing them to give speed money.
An importer said, “The objective of FBR is to facilitate legal importers so that smuggling is stopped. Even policies are made in this direction. FBR already knows about the menace of discouraging imports. However, the lower staff does exactly opposite by discoursing imports and encouraging smuggling.”
According to confirmed information given by some cadres of importers, Principal Appraiser Shahid Rizvi is openly demanding bribe from the importers in assessing their consignments and upon refusing, he assesses the consignments at higher value without any evidence.
Earlier, importers appealed to FBR Chairman Tariq Mehmood Pasha and Member Customs Zahid Khokhar to look into the issue of blackmailing and address the grievances of the importers at the earliest. They also demanded to launch inquiry against the few officials of Customs deputed at Port Qasim, especially PA Shahid Rizvi to avoid huge losses to the national exchequer.