The Collectorate of Customs Islamabad has removed the Superintendent Incharge of Anti-Smuggling Organization (ASO), Investigation and Prosecution (I&P), and State Warehouse Islamabad from the post on missing dozens of seized vehicles and the relevant records, it is learned.
The Customs Department Islamabad parks all non-customs and illegal vehicles in this warehouse which it seizes during various operations and raids. The department disposes of these vehicles and other confiscated items through auction from time to time and submits revenue to the national exchequer.
The scandal of missing vehicles along with records was unearthed through an internal audit of ASO, I&P, and State Warehouse, G-12, Islamabad, covering the last two fiscal years 2020-21 and 2021-2022 and three months (July-September) of the current fiscal year 2022-23.
According to a document seen by ProPakistani, the internal audit had been ordered on 26th August 2022 and was completed within two months, and submitted during the last week of Oct 2022. The report revealed some eye-opening revelations about the performance of this watchdog of anti-smuggling activities.
The document shows that the interim Audit Report pointed out glaring lapses “in not only requisite maintenance of record, and violation of procedures as laid out in governing rules but missing detained and seized vehicles”.
Sources in the Collectorate of Customs Islamabad said that around five dozen of confiscated vehicles were reported missing from the Customs Warehouse Islamabad which had been confiscated through different raids.
The Audit Report further said that the detention registers and seizure registers of the warehouse are poorly maintained by the officials of the warehouse. This negligence of the officials shows not only maladministration but also points out corrupt practices by the officials of the Warehouse.
The report also shows that the anti-smuggling performance of the Customs Collectorate has shown a decline. According to the report, the anti-smuggling performance of the Collectorate decreased by 21 percent during the first four months of the current fiscal year as compared to the same period of the last fiscal year.
The report further shows that the performance of the Investigation & Prosecution (1&P) department has been found waning during the internal audit. Provision of basic information regarding current FIR cases against smuggling and their follow-up has been found to be absent, mentioned in the audit report.
In light of the audit report, with the approval of the Collector of Customs, the Collectorate of Customs Islamabad took action and placed “off duty” to Superintendent In-charge of ASO, I&P, and State Warehouse, G-12, Ali Hayat with immediate effect and till further orders.
According to the officials of the Collectorate of Customs Islamabad, Ali Hayat is directed to relinquish the charge and report to Headquarters Office. The Collectorate will take further action on the matter after the submission of the detailed Audit report.
Sources told ProPakistani that the Collectorate of Customs Islamabad has shown only 44 vehicles in the State Warehouse, Islamabad in its record in Oct 2022. According to the record, the Collectorate of Customs Islamabad showed vehicles including Mercedes Benz Cars, Toyota Land Cruisers, Honda Civic Cars, Toyota Vitz Cars, Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, Mitsubishi Pajeros, and Toyota Prado, etc.