During Tuesday’s hearing of the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) containers case, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) told the Supreme Court it had unearthed duty and tax evasion worth over Rs55 billion.
The billion-rupee irregularity was exposed as 28, 000 containers carrying commercial cargo under the Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) went missing en route from Karachi Port to Afghanistan.
The rest of the 322,000 containers, dispatched for Afghanistan from Karachi under the non-commercial category meant for International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), have not been found yet.
FBR chairman Salman Siddique apprised a two-member bench, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice Arif Khiliji, which resumed hearing of the suo motu case regarding the Isaf container scam.
During the course of hearing, the chief justice issued directives to the chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to cooperate with Siddique to initiate proceedings against those involved in the scam.
Furthermore, Siddique was directed to conduct adjudication against those involved in the scam, whose cases will be referred to NAB if found guilty.
Siddique, while giving details of the missing containers, submitted that a study conducted by the FBR revealed that commercial ATT containers imported this year have fallen by approximately 50 per cent. Between February 1, 2010 and September 20, 2010, a total of 63,264 commercial ATT containers were imported, whereas this year the number has fallen to 33,414 containers.
Siddique added that, similarly, non-commercial ATT imports have also fallen by 26 per cent to 28,802 containers, which were found missing.
He said that the loss of revenue in terms of duties and taxes stood at around Rs55 billion.
However, he added that clearance collectors have adjudicated 108 cases against 184 containers, so far, whereas total liability adjudged against them is Rs424 million (duty & taxes) with a penalty of Rs210 million.
The hearing was adjourned for three weeks.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2011.
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