KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has initiated proceedings against corrupt officials and officers and several pending inquiries have been reopened.

Collector Appraisement West Agha Jawad has summoned 11 officials for the final hearing on October 15, 2015. These 11 officers are facing disciplinary proceedings in terms of removal from service.

These 11 Appraisers are from the badge of 108 appointed in 1998 and include Alamdar Hussain, Jamshed Hussain cheema, Tariq Mahmood, Muhammad Ibrahim Kurd, Ehtesham-ul-Haq, Manzoor Subhani, Syed Hammad, Abdul Rasheed Shaikh, Ghulam hussain Dogar, Syed Irshad Ali Shah and Khalid Awan . They are facing allegations that they did not cleared the post-training exam. A list was issued in 2001 naming 1040 FBR officials, who were dismissed in the tenure of Pervez Msuharraf. These 11 were included in that list.

It is strange to note that Tariq Mahmood and Manzoor Subhani never even joined the Customs and still their postings are being notified for the last 15 years.

However, they approached High Court and availed stay against that list, they submitted that when the list of 1040 officials were prepared they had not been given the postings till then. High Court advised the authorities to prove the allegations against them  and later they were reinstated. However, FBR alleged that they had not cleared the post-training exam. Inquiry into these allegations were initiated and put on pending in 2001. Now the same have been reinitiated.

Sources said that the technical appraisers appointed in 1984 are retiring in a couple of years. While the appraisers appointed in 1998 have 6-7 years left of service.

FBR has planned that since 1984 badge technical appraisers would retire soon, majority of appraisers of 1998 badge should be removed so that a new badge of corruption-immune appraisers could be appointed.

FBR has also promoting appraisers to the post of Principal appraisers so that posts of appraisers could be vacated and honest people could be appointed.

The officers summoned for final hearing say that all the cases against them had already been decided and they had been serving for the last 20 years adding it was not easy to remove them from service.

The prime reason of corruption in Pakistan Customs is lack of facilities and lower pay scales. Had their salaries and perks were better or equivalent to central bank, a number of officials and officers would abstain themselves from corrupt practices.

It is suspiring to note that when a member is included in the Board out of the FBR, the same is paid Rs2.5 to 3.0 million a month while a CSP officers becoming member draws around Rs0.3 million approximately.

It may be mentioned here that an appraiser or principal appraisers draws Rs70-75 thousand per month at peak level while an assistant collector draws Rs55-60 thousand per month. Deputy Collector draws 80-85 thousand; Additional Collector draws Rs100-110 thousand and Collector gets around Rs150 thousand per month while Member draws around Rs200 thousand per month.  Such low pay scales compel officials and officers to corruption resulting in revenue leakage.

Sources said that regardless of measures taken by FBR to root out corruption, until and unless the officials are given market competitive salaries, the menace can not be eliminated.