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FBR Ordered to Investigate ‘Neglectful, Inept, Incompetent’ Customs Officers Who Detained a Jeep

The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) has issued directives to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to investigate allegations of maladministration and mishandling of a case involving the release of a vehicle by the Customs authorities of the Collectorate of Customs (Appraisement), Taftan, and the Collectorate of Customs (Appraisement), Quetta.

The complaint, filed under Section 10(1) of the Federal Tax Ombudsman Ordinance, 2000, pertained to the release of a Grand Cherokee Jeep, imported into Pakistan on 19.07.2023 at the Collectorate of Customs (Appraisement), Taftan.

The complainant, an individual returning to Pakistan after 26 years in Germany, lacked knowledge of the Carnet De-Passage Rules or the import duty payment mechanism due to illiteracy.

Instead of guiding the complainant on applicable procedures, the Customs authorities detained the vehicle for three days at Taftan and subsequently transferred it to NLC Dryport, Quetta, for further formalities. The vehicle remained in custody at NLC Dryport, Quetta, for over four months without lawful detention or seizure notice, before being escorted to Islamabad Dryport for export to Germany.

The FTO found the actions of Customs officials at Taftan and Quetta Collectorates to be unreasonable, biased, and indicative of neglect, incompetence, inefficiency, and ineptitude, constituting maladministration under Section 2(3)(i)(b) & (ii) of the FTO Ordinance.

Consequently, the FTO directed the FBR to:

  1. Re-open the case under Section 195 of the Customs Act, 1969, and conduct a fresh investigation after providing the complainant with an opportunity to be heard.
  2. ​Issue a new speaking order, considering relevant legal citations, and offer the complainant the opportunity to re-export the vehicle and caravan within 30 days.
  3. Initiate departmental inquiries against officials of the Collectorates of Customs (Appraisement) Taftan and Quetta, based on charges raised by the complainant and the Collector (Adjudication), Islamabad.
  4. ​Take necessary disciplinary proceedings under E&D Rules, 2020, against officers/officials responsible for maladministration.
  5. Return the complainant’s passport immediately and refrain from auctioning the vehicles until a fresh order under Section 195 of the Customs Act, 1969, is issued.

This directive aims to rectify the mishandling of the case and ensure fair treatment of the complainant in accordance with the law.

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ProPK Staff