Confusion prevails among assessment staff at Customs south region |

Confusion prevails among assessment staff at Customs south region

KARACHI: Severe confusion prevails among the assessment staff of Pakistan Customs South as Chief Collector South Abdul Rasheed Shaikh has issued an order to minimize examination of imported consignments and refrain from calling documents from the importers and clearing agents. A meeting was held on Friday headed by Chief Collector Abdul Rasheed Shaikh and was participated by Collector Appraisement East Ashad Jawad, Collector Appraisement West Farid Iqbal Qureshi, Collector Port Qasim Mukarram Jah and additional collectors from these collectorates. Chief Collector expressed his dismay over examination of more consignments and calling of documents from importers and clearing agents and issued directives to minimize the examination of consignments and refrain from calling documents. These fresh directives have crated confusion among the assessment staff because this is the responsibility of assessment staff to properly assess the consignment so that government’s legitimate revenue is secured. It may be mentioned here that earlier more consignments were referred for examination and importers/clearing agents used to bribe the staff to avoid the examination. Now, officers refusing to refer examination of the consignments in the light of Chief Collector’s directives would invite criticism that whether they were receiving bribes. Sources said that Chief Collector Abdul Rasheed Shaikh aims to eliminate the corruption from the department as examination and calling of documents open doors for corruption as importers/clearing agents bribe the officials to avoid examination and submitting documents. An official said that such a practice could close doors for corruption but it would also result in huge loss to state revenue as most of the commercial importers and several clearing agents can not be trusted. It may be mentioned here that Chief Collector has also advised the Collectorates not to lodge FIRs or Contravention Reports in case of fiscal frauds if the importer agreed to pay the evaded amount. This policy is not understandable because the unscrupulous elements if caught evading pay the dues and go clean. Although Abdul Rasheed Shaikh is a very honest and reputed officer, but his policies lately seems to be counter-productive. It seems that Collector Appraisement(East) has posted an inefficient officer as Principal Appraiser of  R&D Section, having a questionable reputation, as a protest. It is worthwhile to mention here that R&D Section (previously known as Appraisement Intelligence Branch/AIB) is responsible for taking action against offences under the Customs Act. Posting of an inefficient officer as Incharge of this important Section is very meaningful.
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