ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has sought immediate surrender of all non-custom paid, tampered luxury jeeps including Land Cruisers, Prados, Pajeros and SUVs allegedly in the personal use of influential officials, Pakistan Today has learned.
According to sources, surprisingly, all such luxury vehicles were provided to influential officers of the federal and provincial governments as well as the ruling elite by the collectors of customs intelligence after receiving token money ranging between Rs50,000 to Rs125,000 and the market value of these luxury vehicles is estimated at Rs10 billion.
They added that the FBR, fearing a court action, has now directed to immediately hand over all such vehicles to the respective customs warehouses.
According to a letter issued by FBR Administration Chief Tariq Ghani, a copy of which is available with Pakistan Today, all field formations of the FBR and Pakistan Customs Services have been requested to surrender their luxury jeeps and SUVs.
The departments of the FBR have also been directed to present a certificate in this regard which will be furnished to the board by Monday. Similarly, supervisory officers of the respective field formations (PCS/IRS) have been requested to ensure immediate compliance with these directions.
“Any violation of the above directions shall be viewed seriously by the competent authority and it shall entail a disciplinary action,” the letter concludes.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Supreme Court (SC) during a hearing on April 26 had expressed displeasure over the issuance of luxury vehicles by the officials of FBR (PCS/IRS), which were either purchased/confiscated and were beyond the entitlement of the respective officers.
FBR sources told that customs officers were authorised to impound two types of vehicles including non-custom paid and tampered chassis number, non-custom paid vehicles and, as per the law, FBR officers were not permitted to keep these vehicles in their personal use and auction to sell such vehicles is to be carried out within a limited period of time.
However, some influential officers in violation of the rules were using the vehicles, they added.
Sources also told that a weak policy was approved by the federal cabinet’s economic coordination committee (ECC) in 2010, under which the customs department was given the authority to sell non-custom paid vehicles to government organisations. Moreover, Customs Intelligence director general (DG) and collectors of 18 collectorates were given the authority to sell out these luxury vehicles while determining their prices.
“A bank draft from the department concerned is necessary for the sale of such vehicles and the vehicle should be registered in the name of the department. Moreover, the process must be completed within 30 days after the collection of the vehicle,” sources said.
They said it was also a necessity to submit a copy of registration with the customs department apparently to avoid the personal and wrong use of the vehicles. However, registration of a large number of such vehicles in the name of any government-owned department had not been made despite the passage of several years. They also said that currently, innumerable luxury vehicles were in the use of the ruling elite and officers of federal and provincial governments, FBR, customs intelligence, customs collectorate and the police.
It is worth mentioning here that the violations have been pointed out several times, however, no firm action has so far been taken against any influentials.