A lost cause: Chairman FBR forwards charge sheet against Saeed Jadoon to Establishment Division

KARACHI: Chairman FBR Dr. Ashfaq has forwarded a charge sheet to Finance Minister against Saeed Jadoon Member Policy Customs, which was vetted by Finance Minister and now it is tabled at Establishment Division.

Saeed Jadoon was indicted in a case made by I&I Quetta that sizeable revenue was lost due to non-implementation of Valuation Rulings.

Customs’ Intelligence reported that collectors of the Quetta Collectorate of Appraisement had reportedly been fixing very low and nominal advance assessable values of certain imported goods, including dry fruits and tiles for the last five to six years whereas the Directorate of Customs Valuation had already determined much higher values of the same goods.

Establishment Division will decide whether to forward it to Prime Minister with recommendations or not. 

Interestingly, Saeed Jadoon is retiring on March 11 this year. Law provides that if an inquiry/investigation is finalized before superannuation, the verdict would be imposed. However, if a verdict comes after the retirement of officer, it may not be imposed. Therefore, this entire exercise is a waste of time and resources.

Several others officers are being targeted, as according to sources Chairman FBR was only interested in showing his efficiency to the Prime Minister. Through reopening this case, and ordering audit of vehicles auction, sources said Chairman FBR Dr. Ashfaq was trying to target around 50 PCS officers of BS-17 to BS-20.

Dr. Ashfaq is a very junior officer and he was made Chairman for the efficient investigation in the Qazi Faez Essa case. This investigation was assigned to him by Mirza Shahzad Akbar.

Without taking the merits of the case into consideration, Chairman FBR is opening past cases and pressurizing inquiry officers to fix responsibility on officers. Dr. Ashfaq already made a case in MG vehicles import case to malign Tariq Huda.

Director Customs Intelligence and Investigation Quetta Muhammad Ismail Quetta had made this case of non-application of different Valuation Rulings. He did a marvelous job and identified losses to national exchequer due to non-implementation of VRs etc.

Muhammad Ismail has a very limited team comprising Additional Director Abdul Hai Shaikh, Inspectors Hamid Habib and Shabbir Ahmed and only 10 sepoys, and they cover the entire Quetta Chamman border and Taftan borders.

I&I Quetta mentioned non-application of Valuation Ruling No 1031/2017 in assessment of Pistachio as goods are being assessed at $1.2S instead of $2.97, which resulted in loss of revenue to tune of Rs.854 million during 2019-2020. The practice is still continuing.

Non-application of Valuation Ruling No 1017/2017 & 1451/2020 in assessment of Nylon Mesh Net fabrics as goods are being assessed at $1.0 instead of $1.5, which resulted in loss of revenue to tune of Rs545 million.

Non-application of Valuation Ruling No. 1350/2019 in assessment of Cumin seeds (Zeera); non-application of Valuation Ruling No 1350/2019 in assessment of coriander; non levy of Regulatory Duty of 25 percent in clearances of potatoes.

I&I Quetta also noted in clearances of whey powder, artificial jewelry, glass ware, cumin seeds, suiting fabrics at NLC Dry Port, though VRs were applied but abnormal tare weight was given, resulting in colossal loss of revenue.

“High value items like tea, dry fruits and auto parts are imported and mis-declared in garb of low value items like moth beans attracting only 2.0 percent WHT. Moth beans imported at Chaman dry port are in millions of metric tons beyond production capacity of Afghanistan.

In response to the report made by I&I Quetta, then Collector Quetta Mr. Raza noted the authors of the inquiry report had deliberately tried to mislead the Board and higher authorities by suppressing, concealing and withholding crucial facts and misrepresenting other crucial events, procedures and happenings in respect of most of the issues discussed in the said lopsided report.

Raza said the entire report was based on misrepresentation of facts and conjectures and conclusions drawn on the basis of assumptions.

Both the authors of the report have neither visited Taftan nor served in any customs station where trade through land route is taking place. They accordingly fail to understand the context due to which unique mechanism of Local Valuation Committees were historically formed to evaluate inferior quality goods traded from Iran and Afghanistan through land routes. This trade has historically been informal without involvement of foreign exchange as there is no banking relationships between Pakistan and Iran / Afghanistan. This trade via land route is different and unlike other imports taking place from Karachi owing to fact that the goods are of low value, inferior quality in non-containerized mode of transport having loose packing and depreciated freight charges.

Under such circumstances, it would have been more appropriate for the Director General of Intelligence & Investigation (Customs), Islamabad to have sought input of the concerned Collectorates before endorsing the flawed and unsound conclusions of the report forwarded by the authors.

The high Court of Baluchistan in two separate CPs had upheld the valued determined by Collector Quetta and ordered assessment of all current and past consignments as per these values.

It is interesting to note that these goods, on the instructions of FBR, are still being assessed on the values, which I&I Quetta believed to be on the lower side.  

 

 

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