Large scale reshuffling in PCS invites criticism

KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) recently notified large scale transfers and postings of Pakistan Customs Service (PCS) officers, which is a routine exercise. However, officials believe enough thought was not given while finalizing these transfers and postings.

Sources said fresh and inexperienced officers were posted at MCC Appraisement East, MCC Appraisement West and MCC Port Qasim, which are the most important collectorates. In past the postings of Assistant/Deputy Collectors were based on reputation and competency, and fresh officers were not posted at these critical collectorates.

However, for the past few years fresh officers and even the probationary officers are posted in Appraisement East and Appraisement West and Port Qasim, which resulted in losses as these officers were inexperienced.

Moreover, postings of fresh Appraising Officers in these collectorates also caused losses to exchequer as they did blunders whether intentional or unintentional.

An official said the recent large scale reshuffling would also impact ongoing investigations in mega scams including fraudulent clearance of seized/confiscated containers and import of high value goods in the garb of used clothing and scrap.

Although, some well reputed officers such as Deputy Collectors Amanullah Tareen, Jahanzaib Abbasi, Zamzam Aman, Lubna Shamshad, Arma Hasan are posted in these three collectorates. But the officials still believe these transfers and postings could have been more considerate, as other than the mentioned officers, fresh and inexperienced officers were posted at Appraisement South as such a critical time when an anti-smuggling drive is underway and unscrupulous elements are taking advantage of the system.

Sources said high profile officers including Deputy Collectors Falik Sher, Mohammad Adnan Khan, Muhammad Faisal, Tausif Aman Gorchani, Amjad Rajpar and Shoib Raza were transferred, despite the fact investigations of high profile cases were underway. These officers are expert in investigation and intelligence operations.

Sources said that it seemed these officers were moved in a deliberate attempt to weaken the ongoing investigations of certain high profile cases.

An official said WeBOC system had inherent flaws as there were no check and balances, while interaction of Assistant/Deputy Collectors with the importers and Customs agents had opened a flood gate of corruption.

Sources said Appraising Officers and Principal Appraisers had been advised verbally to assess imported goods on higher values so that the cases are referred to Assistant/Deputy Collectors for review. The officers are often lenient for obvious reasons.

Moreover, high profile and reputed officers Deputy Collectors Muhammad Faisal and Nausheen Riaz are posted in Directorate of Risk Management. It may be recalled that former director RMS Shahnaz Maqbool had submitted a report to the senior officers, but no action was taken on her report.

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