FBR data loss: Waqar Masood, Asim Ahmed removed to protect PRAL

KARACHI: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr Waqar Masood and Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Asim Ahmed were removed after the sensitive data hacking fiasco.

Sources said the SAPM and Chairman FBR were made scapegoats to protect  Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited (PRAL). Sources said PRAL developed the entire system and automated the records, and it was PRAL’s responsibility to safeguard this sensitive information.

PRAL is a private limited company and its board members are the members of FBR including the chairman. None of these officers are IT experts, they are basically CSPs. Sources said appointment of government employees on the board of a private limited company also posed conflict of interest.

PRAL also gets contracts from private and corporate sectors, and these are given to PRAL without any advertisement or due process. Moreover, the aid/assistance FBR gets is often given to PRAL.

Sharjeel Jamal of UTrade Logistics aid said PaCCs was closed in 2010. He said Islamabad High Court ordered that PRAL was illegal and members of its Board were also illegally appointed. Moreover, Islamabad High Court had referred NAB for proper investigation of PRAL. But FBR approached Supreme Court and obtained stay.

He said Risk Management System across the world is manifest based, but PRAL’s risk management system is NTN based.

Sharjeel Jamal requested Supreme Court to decide the case and this issue should be brought on record.

Sources said although FBR had claimed the entire data was recovered, but in fact highly sensitive data was lost and it was reportedly sold for $26,000.

The stolen/compromised sensitive data include ID Card numbers, Sales Tax Registration numbers, biometric prints, NTN numbers, details of recovery and adjustment etc.

Sources said it was still unclear that whether any information was permanently deleted from the FBR records. Sources said a comprehensive audit is required to ascertain the true picture.

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