KARACHI: Pakistan Appraising Officers Association has approached Chairman FBR Tariq Bajwa to spare some time for a meeting with the Association on Tuesday. Tariq Bajwa and Member Customs Nisar Mohammad Khan are scheduled to visit Customs House Karachi on Tuesday.
Senior Vice President of Association, Principal Appraiser Shafiullah told Customnews.pk that the Association would discuss a couple of issue and the FIRs lodged against 74 appraising officials would be the top of the list.
Judicial Magistrate Lahore has issued non-bail able arrest warrants of these Customs officials including Principal Appraisers, Appraising Officers and Examining Officers as these officials are accused of overusing their authorities.
These officials are accused of clearing pharmaceutical raw material without the approval of Drug Officer causing a loss of Rs 40 million to the national exchequer.
Shafiullah said that the FIA proceedings against the Customs officials were illegal as per the Section 217 of Customs Act, 1969, which provided that no suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against the Government or any public servant for anything which is done or intended to be done in good faith no investigation or enquiry shall be undertaken or initiated by any governmental agency against any officer or official for anything done in his official capacity without the prior approval of the Board. No suit shall be brought in any civil court to set aside or modify any order passed, any assessment made, any tax levied, any penalty imposed or collection of any tax made under this Act.
He said that the Association would request the Chairman to approach DG FIA for the withdrawal of the FIRs, so that the matter could be resolved in a rational and legal way. The recent dismissal of two principal appraisers would also be discussed at the proposed meeting.
It was known that Collector Appraisement West Mohammad Saleem is writing to the FBR apprising him of the situation that FIA had called all the 74 appraising officers to appear in Lahore for the recording of their statements. Mohammad Saleem is of the view that Customs was already short of staff and so many appraising officials could not leave Karachi therefore an FIA team should come to Karachi to their statements.
Mohammad Saleem is of the view that this case was not being handled prudently and could result in a state of conflict between two national institutions. There is no concrete evidence of any sort of corruption, there was some issue of interpretation and could be resolved more amicably and the losses to the exchequer could be recovered.