Thursday, 23 March 2023

FBR formed a committee to investigate alleged valuation fraud

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has constituted a fact finding committee to probe the alleged valuation fraud worth billions that took place in the Customs department.

According to Customs Today, the tax department has constituted a four-member committee under the chair of Director General (DG) Post Clearance Audit Seema Raza Bukhari and consisting of three other members, including Collector Fayyaz Rasool Maken, Additional Director Khaldin-ul-Haq and Deputy Director Fahad Bashir.

The team has been tasked to investigate the alleged valuation fraud and investigate the legal violations committed by the Quetta Collectorate of Customs (Appraisement), from 2015 to onward.

Customs’ Intelligence department, in its investigations, had found out 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.

The collectors ignored these values in violation of the express provisions of Section 25-A of the Customs Act which had conferred over them the power to determine assessable values of imported goods, until 2019, after which these powers were abolished and omitted from law by the Finance Act, when it surfaced that the collectors had abused their powers, causing massive revenue losses.

Sources also said that there is a need to assess the legal status of the prima facie’s letter issued by the then DG Valuation, who currently serves in the Board of Investment (BoI), as reportedly this letter was written in violation of the Custom Act law and had paved the way for similar frauds by successive collectors at Quetta.

They also suggested that the committee probe why the collector fixed different values for imported goods when the Directorate of Valuation had already issued a ruling in this regard and whether the new determinations qualify as legal under the law.

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