KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has decided to give opportunity to clearing agents and bonded carriers to explain their position in ISAF container scam before issuing final notices of recovery, sources said.
The sources said that the decision came after the successful meeting of clearing agents and members of bonded carriers association with the FBR chairman. The sources said that Arshad Jamal, Saifullah Khan and Syed Shams Ahmed Burney represented the All Pakistan Customs Agents Association, Karachi Customs Agents Association and All Pakistan Bonded Carrier Association in the meeting.
The FBR chairman has been informed that responsible persons should be brought to justice and not to apprehend people on just assumptions.
The FBR recently extended the date of issuing recovery notices to clearing agents in 9,334 cases in Nato/ISAF containers scam.
FBR chairman also informed the role and the limitation of clearing and forwarding agents in this scam in the light of Public Notice 16/2000 and Public Notice 05/2003, as hundreds of clearing agents and their families were suffering for the act not done by them and the competent authorities seem to be maneuvering things and the enquiry that was to be done without any biasness was not being done in its true spirit as directed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
The clearing agents are just looped in due to 8-day formula, which is still a big question and on the basis of this the clearing agents are being harassed without any evidence that could collaborate them for any wrong doings, the chairman was informed.
It was informed that the driver of the vehicle, owner of vehicle, vehicle in question and the bonded carrier (Pakistan Railways, NLC-HMT contractors) and all the agencies, which were responsible for monitoring and the concerned customs staff at the customs bordering stations and all relevant staff of PRAL are not made accused in the reference filed by NAB and show cause notices issued by the adjudicating officers of Pakistan Customs.
The Supreme Court taking suo moto in missing ISAF/NATO containers scam ordered the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) to prepare a detailed report into the matter. FTO in his report highlighted many grey areas into the working procedures adopted for handling the ATT cargo and accused for maladministration not only Customs/FBR and Ministry of Commerce for making a very weak mechanism for the transit trade and allowing unnecessary leverage to it; rather all the monitoring agencies who were required to monitor the traffic in transit en route.
It is worth mentioning here that the last date for issuing the recover notices was June 30 but through an official note the FBR extended the date by November 16, 2013.