KARACHI: The recovery of billions of rupees in cases of misusing exemption regime has been put at stake as top brass of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is sheltering the officials involved in corrupt practices, sources said.
Recently, Pakistan Customs has unearthed billions of rupees scam under which traders grossly misused the facility of tax exemptions and in this connection the customs officials have sent a list of about 3,500 importers and clearing agents, who defrauded the national exchequer through presenting fake certificates issued by inland revenue officials.
The sources said that on the directives of FBR chairman Ali Arshad Hakeem an officer Shafiullah, Principal Appraiser had been posted at Research and Development section of MCC PaCCS. The sources said the principal appraiser did not have good reputation but he had good connection with the FBR chief.
The sources also said that Shafiullah was posted purposely at the section to shelter the IRS officers involved in issuing fake exemption certificates.
It is pertinent to mention here that a bulk quantity of exemption certificates was issued when Raza Baqir, presently Member IRS Operations, was chief commissioner of Regional Tax Office, Karachi. Meanwhile, Ali Arshad Hakeem and Raza Baqir have close connection which resulted in controversial promotion of Raza Baqir to Grade – 21 despite having criminal records of plea bargain.
MCC PaCCS seeking intervention of higher authorities in the scam wrote an official note to Raza Baqir Member IRS Operations for the verification of the exemption certifications issued by Regional Tax Offices (RTOs) and Large Taxpayers Units (LTUs).
The customs sources said that the collectorate earlier approached the concerned IRS departments for the verifications but the respective RTOs or LTUs did not pay heed to this very crucial issue, especially at a time when the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) was facing huge shortfall in revenue collection target for this fiscal year.
The customs sources said that any attempt to stop the recovery in this scam the national exchequer would be deprived of huge losses. They said that presence of Shafiullah may hurt the ongoing drive.
The close connection of Shafiullah and Ali Arshad Hakeem can be determined as both were good tennis players and having meetings at tennis court.

Misusing SROs: billions of rupees recovery initiated; over 3,500 importers, clearing agents list submitted to Member IR for verification
Member IR Raza Baqir promoted to Grade-21 on criminal record; CSB approves promotion of corrupt officers