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FTO directs FBR to audit smuggled vehicles’ auctions

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) while deciding a suo-moto case against the “irregularities” of the Federal Board of Revenue’s field formations in seizing smuggled (non-customs paid) vehicles, determining their value and conducting an auction.
FTO has directed the FBR to conduct a detailed audit of auctions conducted in the last three years.
The Directorate General of Customs Internal Audit has been directed to carry out a detailed audit of auctions to identify weaknesses in the rules and procedures, and make recommendations in accordance to improve laws, control and compliance.
According to details, the FTO in its investigation on the matter found that the customs’ collectorates, while seizing the NCP vehicles, did not nominate or apprehend even a single unlawful owner or culprit.
“Criminal proceedings, including lodging of FIRs, have, invariably, not been initiated during the last ten years and most of the seizures were effected against unknown persons,” read the investigative report.
The report further read: “If anti-smuggling activities were conducted seriously with a view to discourage smuggling of vehicles, the influx of such vehicles could have been dropped.”
According to the FTO report, in the last five years, 1,662 vehicles were auctioned. Of the total, 538 vehicles were disposed of in the first auction, some below the reserve price.

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