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Probing clearance of 50,000 vehicles: DG-PCA serves notices on customs officials

Probing clearance of 50,000 vehicles: DG-PCA serves notices on customs officials

ISLAMABAD: The inquiry committed set up by the Directorate General of Post Clearance Audit (DGPCA) has issued notice to seven customs officials for June 13, asking them to show up and explain their administrative decisions that were taken during amnesty period to clear 50,000 vehicles.

As per details, they PCA, on the directives of the FBR, has constituted four teams to determine either duty/taxes was collected as per procedures or these 50,000 vehicles were cleared at short payment of surcharge. The teams have been tasked with assessing duty/taxes collected on the clearance of these vehicles under ”Vehicle Amnesty Scheme”, 2013.

Besides that the Directorate of Customs Intelligence and Investigation, the FBR has also been ordered to verify the veracity of the information, which revealed that these vehicles were cleared without physical inspection, which was supposed to be mandatory for its clearance.

As per the notification issued at that time for regularisation of non-duty paid smuggled vehicles under “Vehicle Amnesty Scheme,” 2013, motor vehicles having non-tampered engine or chassis numbers, which had been seized or voluntarily presented to customs department, shall not be allowed release without physical inspection and payment of redemption fine along with duty and taxes.

However, applicants, who were required to get physical inspection of the vehicle done for availing tax amnesty, were allowed to regularise their non-duty paid smuggled vehicles without physical inspection. During amnesty period, there were reports that officers posted at car group at that time granted tax amnesty to the smuggled vehicles without physical inspection against undue gains, they maintained.

The scam came to the limelight when customs officers were accused of “under the table settlement” for allowing tax amnesty to the smuggled vehicles, which were physically not presented in the country during amnesty period. Taking notice of these reports in view, the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) took suo motu action against the malpractice and recommended to the FBR to conduct PCA of these vehicles after investigation. Now, the DG-PCA constituted teams to implement the FTO’s directives.