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PM Abbasi takes notice of corruption in FBR, directs chairman to submit report

PM Abbasi takes notice of corruption in FBR, directs chairman to submit report

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, taking notice of rampant ‘corruption’ and appointment of officers with ‘embarrassingly compromised reputations’ at key positions in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), has directed 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 prime minister has also directed the FBR chairman to submit the required report latest by November 28.

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.

The letter directed FBR to provide ‘integrity’ details of grade-20 officers; in particular Basharat Ahmad Qureshi, Sharif Ahmad Awan and Shahar Bano Walajahi, according to the official letter.

An FBR inquiry had earlier established that Ahmed Qureshi gave illegal tax benefits to two companies but was posted as Commissioner RTO-III Karachi in 2015 regardless.

Similarly, the FBR had established that Sharif Awan ‘held assets beyond means’ but in February he was posted as Commissioner Appeals in RTO Karachi, regardless of the matter. It was also proven by the FBR that Shahar Bano Walajahi gave undue favour of Rs429.8 million to a taxpayer.

The chairman is the final authority in the appointment of members of the FBR and heads of all field formations. After assuming office in July this year, Pasha has brought his own team at the headquarters and in the field formations.

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.

A recent report of the World Bank claimed that Pakistan suffers a loss of Rs3.2 trillion annually due to weak administration and non-compliant taxpayers.

However, the most worrying aspect for the FBR is that the prime minister has also sought report about past performance and general reputation for integrity of all functional members of the FBR, officers heading field formations and officers who are heading strategic units of the FBR.

He has particularly asked about directorate general of the Post Clearance Audit, Customs, directorate general of Transit Trade, Directorate General of both the Intelligence and Investigation of Inland Revenue and Customs wings.