FBR contemplating a centralized Customs intelligence wing reporting to Chief Collectors

KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is considering to equip Chief Collectors of Appraisement and Enforcement with ‘eyes’ i.e. centralized intelligence wings directly reporting to the Chief Collectors, which would enable strict monitoring and strengthen accountability.

Sources said the concerned authorities are brainstorming on the plan and it is being considered to merge the Collectorate-based intelligence wings into centralized agencies.

It may be mentioned here that intelligence formations in the name of Research & Development (R&D), Customs Intelligence Unit (CIU) or Appraisement Intelligence Branch (AIB) or operating at every collectorate in Appraisement South. These formations report to their respective Collector.

An official said these intelligence formations were not operating in professional manner and were almost dormant. The official said that reason behind such a state of affairs was shortage of human resource and most importantly incompetent persons on sensitive posts, which results in absence of organized supervision.

It may be mentioned here that officials associated with intelligence branches have also been assigned assessment and examination, which eliminates check & balance resulting in organized revenue leakage.

Sources said that all these Collectorate-based intelligence branches would be merged into centralized formation comprising of four wings including Prosecution, Assessment, Examination Wing and Monitoring.

Prosecution wing would focus on strengthening the prosecution of cases including arrest of accused, investigation and pursuance of cases at legal forums. Assessment and Examination Wings would keep a vigil on attempts of mis-declaration, under-invoicing and misuse of concessionary SROs while Monitoring Wing with the help of CCTV cameras would monitor day to day workings at the Customs House.

According to the proposed plan, an Additional Collector would head the centralized intelligence agency while a Deputy Collector or Assistant Collector would head the sub-branches mentioned above.

Sources said that well reputed Additional Collectors such as Omar Shafique and Nayyar Shafique may be considered to head the proposed formation.

While Deputy Collectors such as Qasim Khokar, Ibrahim Khan, Rana Aftab, Asim Rehman and Falik Sher while Assistant Collectors such as Wasif Malik and Usman Tariq may also be eligible candidates to lead the sub-branches.

Moreover, Principal Appraisers such as Sultan Aurungzeb, Javed Akhter, Shahid Rizvi, Tahir Hussain and Asad Masood while Appraisers including Dost Mohammad, Mohammad Maqsood, Hafiz Mohammad Jokhio, Mohammad Javed, Noor Elahi, Shahid Ibrahim Dasti, Sohail Mughal, Mohammad Irshad, Mohammad Aziz, Abdul Ghani Soomro and Preventive Officer Malak Hashim being competent and experienced officials may also be the part of the centralized formation.

Sources said FBR has currently posted competent and well-reputed Collectors including Surayya Ahmed Butt Collector Port Qasim, Owais Agha Jawwad Collector Appraisement West and Majid Yousafani Collector MCC Appraisement East. Member Customs Nisar Mohammad Khan is known to be an officer killing loopholes and establishment of such a centralized intelligence formation would go a long way in facilitating trade and plugging revenue leakage.

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