KARACHI: Involvement and patronage of corrupt practices by the FBR officers is not a new phenomenon; the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has recently dismissed several officers and officials from service on charges of corruption and inefficiency.

An official said there were always some black sheep in any department and Customs was no exception. Certain officers had vested interests and played their role in patronizing and protecting unscrupulous elements.

Now, a plot is being hatched to protect the importers who were importing banned pharmaceuticals under vague descriptions and highly under-declared values and caused huge loss to the national exchequer. This is a over Rs1.0 billion high profile case, but certain elements are active to manipulate the facts and make it a low profile case so that a settlement could be arrived by payment of a couple of hundred million rupees.

According to details, a case was unearthed recently wherein certain unscrupulous elements were importing banned pharmaceutical chemicals and getting them cleared under vague description and highly under declared values.

They have been importing pharmaceutical goods including SDO 444, 555 & 777 and mis-declaring their assessable values at $0.5/kg instead of actual value of Cefixime $140/kg, Paracetamol $3/kg and Ciproxin $25/kg. It may be mentioned here that these chemicals are banned to be imported as per the import policy order.

The Customs after detecting the case lodged FIR and arrested the accused. The investigations are underway, but the facts and figures of the case are likely to be manipulated.

Sources said that the case is being undermined particularly Cefixime import which is a very high valued item and a much lower recovery is planned to be created to favor the importers.

Sources said a senior officer of Appraisement East was trying covering the case and limit the recovery to a minimum amount.

According to sources that the said officer had also been posted at I&I Customs, and at that time the diesel smuggling was on rise. Sources said a rate had been fixed at Rs1.0 per liter as extortion against which the transportation of smuggled Irani diesel was ignored and national exchequer was inflicted a heavy loss.

Then DG Rangers had also submitted a report in this regard to Chairman FBR mentioning all aspects of the case including the names of smugglers and the numbers of vehicles being used in smuggling. Afterwards, the very officer was transferred to Gwadar.