FBR called ‘most corrupt’, CCP termed ‘toothless’

Published: April 14, 2017
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ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary body echoed growing public opinion and mistrust over the performance of the country’s tax and antitrust watchdog departments, declaring the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) as “the most corrupt” and the Competition Commission of Pakistan a “toothless” body.

Proceedings of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue revealed that the FBR charged less than notified duties on every one out of 10 vehicles cleared under an amnesty scheme of 2012.

FBR issues notices to 115 politicians

After the Federal Tax Ombudsman caught tax authorities red handed, the FBR is now recovering these lost duties from the owners of these vehicles – four years after the expiry of the scheme. During this period, many vehicles changed hands and new owners are now forced to pay for the sins of the FBR, said Senator Jehanzeb Jamaluddin.

Out of 51,201 vehicles the FBR had cleared under the amnesty scheme, it charged less than notified duties on 5,109 vehicles from owners, FBR Chairman Dr Mohammad Irshad informed the committee. The Pakistan Peoples Party government had offered the amnesty scheme to register the smuggled vehicles. The FBR earned Rs16.2 billion as revenue on registration of these vehicles.

The FBR chairman had blamed the owners for not properly declaring the model and engine capacity of these vehicles. He said that now the Customs Department was collecting these duties from the owners.

“Your department is the most corrupt department in Pakistan,” said a visibly angry Saleem Mandviwalla, chairman of the Standing Committee, to the FBR. Senator Mandviwalla said the FBR officials must have minted money from the owners of these vehicles. He said that now the FBR should recover the lost revenues from its officers instead of penalising current owners.

However, the FBR chief denied these allegations. Last month, he had said that the FBR was as corrupt as the society, saying that singling out the department alone was not fair.

Dr Irshad insisted that the Custom Act allows the recovery of lesser tax. But the law authorises to recover taxes up to three years after the transaction while the scheme had been offered four years ago.

The Committee directed the FBR to withdraw all those notices that have been given after expiry of the three-year period.

CCP 

The standing committee was also not happy with the CCP – the body that has a legal mandate to ensure competition and fair play in the economy.

“The CCP is a real toothless Commission that has failed to crackdown against big cartels,” said Senator Mohsin Aziz. He said that the CCP was sleeping when automobile assemblers and cement manufacturers were fleecing the consumers.

FBR sends inspectors to a firm for ‘advance tax receipt’

The CCP can only go after small parties like tea sellers and chicken shops, said Senator Aziz while taking a jibe on the Commission’s failure to move against big groups.

The CCP is fighting a case for its survival as the industries that have been fined have challenged the existence of the antitrust watchdog in the courts, said Vadiyya Khalil, the chairperson of the Commission. She said that the Commission has imposed fines on cement, sugar and automobile cartels but courts have given stay orders.

CCP’s Member Legal Ikram Qureshi said that the Lahore High Court has not announced judgment for the last six months in a case filed to challenge the existence of the CCP.

The standing committee decided to call the Attorney General of Pakistan to seek his support to make the CCP a functional and effective body.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2017.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • AK
    Apr 14, 2017 - 9:47AM

    This stolen money should be recovered from the thieves employed in FBR. These criminals and their patrons should be charged under the law of the land and sent to jail if convicted.

    It is grossly UNFAIR that current unsuspecting new owners are made to pay. This is NOT justiceRecommend

  • Hassan Ali
    Apr 14, 2017 - 11:32AM

    Tax Reform Commission on first page of their report had termed FBR as a corrup organization.There now more corruption. This can also been seen from the fact that nearly 35% of the officers were not promoted to next grade by the Prime Minister.

    This is a very serious matter as citizens have lost total trust in FBR and are keeping out of tax net. With proper functioning of fBR the tax revenues can triple in 2 years.

    There very urgent need to automate FBR and carry out reforms. The Senate Finance Committee should push on this and truly implement the recommendations of Tax Reform Commission and reform FBR urgentlyRecommend

  • IBN E ASHFAQUE
    Apr 14, 2017 - 12:30PM

    Visit any official home of CBR they live beyond their means many times over………a corruption is to be seen………………I visited a top official home of CBR in karachi……..his bathroom was larger than my bedroom……..I am a professional accountant……..and doing well by Pakistani standards…………..May Allah give us COMMON SENSE………Recommend

  • IBN E ASHFAQUE
    Apr 14, 2017 - 12:44PM

    @AK: Justice is absent from the land of the pure…………that is the source of all problems………Might is Right in Pakistan…………Recommend

  • Rustam
    Apr 14, 2017 - 3:30PM

    @IBN E ASHFAQUE:
    If you mean FBR, you are correct. Living beyond the means is a clear evidence itself for the corruption being committed by such culprits. I wonder if there are the competent authorities fully awake to get such culprits prosecuted in the relevant courts. If family of Prime Minister can be asked the money trail of the funds used to purchase the properties that it owns overseas, why not the corruption suspects.Recommend

  • Fareed
    Apr 15, 2017 - 11:36AM

    Can anyone talk about Chairman Standing Committee & his standing as an honest business tycoon.
    His remarks are biased.Political elite will never let FBR work independently.Recent amnesty on property tax testifies the fact.
    Our hard earned money is used for political scoring subsidies and protocols of senators like Mandviwla.Recommend

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