ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) on Wednesday ordered the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) to re-investigate into the illegal tax refunds case against Sales Tax Commissioner Abdul Hameed within three months.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed presided over hearing of the case, and expressed anger at the top federal government organisation of Pakistan that investigates tax crimes and money-laundering (FBR) for “clearing one officer and holding responsible the other” in the same case.
Meanwhile, FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi submitted a report concerning tax refunds in the court, and an advocate representing the FBR told the bench that an action was taken against refunding officer Ashfaq Dino.
To this, Justice Ejaz-ul-Ahsan remarked that the report did not mention anything of an additional commissioner, and questioned “who is the authorised officer according to the rules?”
The lawyer replied that amounts more than Rs1 million were approved by the additional commissioner, while the authorised officer was the deputy commissioner.
When the CJP further inquired about the matter, the advocate revealed that the deputy commissioner worked under the additional commissioner who had not approved refunds.
“If the deputy commissioner was the authorised officer, where did the additional commissioner come from? […] this means the approval was granted by the deputy commissioner,” Justice Ejaz-ul-Ahsan further said.
Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked: “How will the amount of Rs874.7 million lost by the government be recovered?”
FBR chairman Zaidi responded that the FBR has been conducting recovery on its own.
“How did you conduct inquiry without having any record? […] I couldn’t understand what [FBR] is doing, what will happen if the appeal is rejected?” the CJP asked.
“The court is aware that an old inquiry report will be submitted […] if any officer of the FBR does malpractices, cant you catch him?” the top judge questioned. “Nobody is talking honesty […] don’t play with the court.”