Rift develops between FBR and FTO

KARACHI: A rift has developed between the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) after the FTO advised FBR to nominate BS-19-20 officer for the Inspection Team formed by FTO for investigation of alleged corruption and maladministration in Pakistan Customs.

FTO had taken own motion cognizance on receipt of complaints of incompetence, inefficiency and exercise of powers for corrupt and improper motives at certain Customs stations. FTO had notified FBR of constituting an inspection team comprising 1-2 officials of FTO and one FBR officer of BS19-20.

Responding to subsequent letters from Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO), the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) noted that the allegations leveled by FTO of maladministration needed physical documentary evidence, which had not been provided by the FTO.

FBR in a letter to FTO noted the maladministration, as alleged by FTO, is defined as neglect, inattention, delay, incompetence, inefficiency and ineptitude, in the administration or discharge of duties and responsibilities, and its again worth-mentioning that all these aspects have internal controls and systems within the FBR through which these are catered and measured. There is no system with FTO to establish these aspects and hence cannot allege anyone except with documentary evidence, which again had not been provided to FBR.

FBR clarified that FTO does not have jurisdiction to investigate or inquire into matters in respect of which legal remedies of appeal/review/revision are available, while remedies are available at FBR to take care of all the aspects if evidence is provided.

The allegations conveyed so far are too generic to warrant investigation/inspection against an officer of FBR. No specific acts of omission/commission have been referred and no proof or documentary evidence against the officers has been conveyed to FBR.

The Board mentioned that separate statutes, rules and regulations are available for Service Matters of the officers/officials.

Referring to President of Pakistan’s ruling in the case of M/s Waheed Shahzad Butt, FBR noted, “FTO has no jurisdiction to convert a complaint by any person into own motion.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) noted that in view of the special remedies available with the FBR, the general remedies of FTO cannot be availed and prayed FTO to withdraw the above referred letters.[the_ad id=”31605″]

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