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Report finds six customs officials guilty of dubious clearance of vehicles under amnesty scheme

Report finds six customs officials guilty of dubious clearance of vehicles under amnesty scheme

KARACHI: A complete factual report regarding the Vehicles’ Amnesty Scheme (VAS) scam was sent to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) by the committee that was working on the case for the last six months.

According to the report, the committee held all six customs officials, including two principal appraisers and four appraisers of Car Group (Group-VII) of the Appraisement Collectorate, responsible for dubious clearance of vehicles under the amnesty scheme.

The committee was bifurcated and each section was tasked with probing two different dimensions of the charges levelled against the six customs officials who were deployed in the Car Group at that time.

According to the charge sheet, the committee found that a principal appraiser and an appraiser were intentionally involved in the scam, and damaged the esteem of the department through their malpractices.

The report further stated that three of the customs officials, including a principal appraiser and two appraisers, were partially found guilty as per the committee findings, while one of the appraisers was found being negligent towards his duties.

The committee further recommended legal procedure against those customs officials who were found guilty during the investigation.

It is pertinent to mention here that one of the principal appraisers who was found 100 percent guilty of dubious clearance of vehicles was also suspended by the board a few months ago, while the fate of five other customs officials would be decided by the board in the coming days.

It may be mentioned here that the said committee was investigated the VAS scam on two dimension – one on surcharge shortfall and the other on issue pertaining to the Master Bill of Lading (MBL) and the House Bill of Lading (HBL).

The inquiry into the matter was first initiated by the committee comprising Wasif Memon, then collector of the MCC-Exports; Khalil Yousfani, then additional director of Customs Intelligence and Investigation; and Omar Shafique in 2014.

However, the authorities concerned of the Federal Board of Revenue were not satisfied with the probe report presented by that committee.

Subsequently, the FBR on the directives of the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) constituted another committee headed by Additional Collector (ADC) Irfan Javed in order to probe the entire matter accurately.

The committee headed by ADC Irfan Javed took almost six months to finalise the entire investigation and trace the real culprits.