FBR rejects corruption allegations by PM office

Chairman in hot waters after faces change at MoF

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ISLAMABAD: Earlier through a letter, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s office sought the reply from Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) regarding unabated corruption, meanwhile, FBR has reportedly rejected such claims, it was learnt reliably.

According to sources at FBR, the board, in its reply to Prime Minister’s office, has made it clear that the charges against some officials could not be proved. Earlier the Principal Secretary to the PM Fawad Hasan in a strongly worded letter had sought a reply from FBR regarding growing malpractices in the organisation suggesting to set up a board to decide the fate of tainted officers. The PM’s letter requested details on three BPS grade 20 officers; Basharat Ahmad Qureshi, Sharif Ahmad Awan and Shahar Bano Walajahi.

However, the sources claimed that FBR in its detailed reply about accused officers claimed that none were found guilty of the alleged charges.

The sources claimed that the letter was aimed at the Board Chairman, who was handpicked by former finance minister Ishaq Dar.

“It seemed that the letter was drafted within FBR on the recommendation of a strong office holder in the organisation,” an official, in terms of anonymity told Pakistan Today hinting that Fawad Hasan, Haroon Akhtar and others at the PM’s office did not like FBR Chairman Tariq Mehmood Pasha.

Sources added that the recently appointed Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Miftah Ismail is also unhappy over the performance of FBR. They added, that Miftah Ismail, in a meeting with PM Abbasi had reportedly claimed that 99 per cent of audit cases in FBR were settled with questionable and suspicious means.

Sources within the ministry claim that Tariq Mehmood Pasha is only safe as long as Ishaq Dar’s influence in affairs of the ministry of finance continues. “The PM office is apparently avoiding taking any action against the chairman since he enjoys Dar’s support,” they claimed.

“Pasha is also feeling uneasy with the recent interference from Haroon Akhtar in FBR,” said the official adding “now three bosses will be interfering in the affairs of FBR after the appointment of Miftah Ismail and Rana Afzal Khan.”

The letter, a copy of which is available with Pakistan Today, reads “it has been brought to the knowledge of the PM that no action is being taken against a number of officers whose cases on serious charges have been completed since long. Certain officers of the FBR with embarrassingly compromised reputations and general conduct are leading some of the most important establishments of the FBR.”

The letter also asked for all the official records of cases belonging to Pakistan Customs Services, Inland Revenue Services and other departments of FBR for officers who were involved in corruption, issuance of falsified documents, helping tax evaders, misuse of power and authority, and illegal activities from June 2013 onwards.

“As the corruption and misconduct charges were proven against these officers so why were they not removed from their respective positions and why was legal action not taken against them,” asked the PM. “To make it worse, these officers have been assigned lucrative posts,” the letter added.

The PM’s Office had sought details about Abdul Hamid Anjum who is in grade-19. The details were also sought about three grade-18 officers Sajid Hussain Arain, Abdul Hamid Abro and Jawahar Ali Shah, and Audit officer Anser Majeed.

Apart from the corruption charges, Prime Minister Abbasi, through the letter, had also taken notice of the suspicious appointment of officers at key positions with ‘embarrassingly compromised reputations’ in the FBR.

When contacted for the official version, FBR Spokesperson Dr Iqbal said that a reply to the letter was sent as per the given deadline of November 28 with required documents. “However, I do not know what the reply was. I have not seen the reply so I cannot comment on the text of the reply,” he added.