ISLAMABAD – Disappointed by the performance of the FBR in Isaf containers scam, the Supreme Court has decided to pass an appropriate order in non-compliance of its judgment in that case.

A three-member bench heard the case of missing containers of International Security Assistance Force (Isaf). Since the FBR did not seem interested in recovery of the embezzled amount, the court said it would send the case to Federal Tax Ombudsman and he would make the recovery.

Heading the bench, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhmmad Chaudhry told the FBR counsel that the court gave them one year and four months time and provided them evidence and complete record but no progress was shown. “Former FBR Chairman Salman Siddique made so much progress in the case but after his retirement the whole team investigating the case was changed,” the CJ said.

Rana Shamim, counsel for the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), informed the court that out of Rs54.73 billion the Revenue Board had recovered only Rs5.6 million. The chief justice commented that it was not even 0.0005 per cent recovery of the total amount. The counsel said that the main hurdle they faced was that all the importers were Afghan nationals. He said 11,589 show cause notices were issued and orders were issued in 96 of these cases. He said the bonded carrier - NLC - had taken stay order from the courts.

The chief justice asked the counsel if they had moved the High Courts for the cancellation of stay orders. Justice Gulzar Ahmed said that Customs officials were also involved in the scam and questioned if the FBR moved against them. He said that without the connivance of Customs officials the goods coming for Afghanistan could not reach the local markets. “They all are in hand in glove with each other,” he added.

The court noted that with the passage of time the evidence is spoiled. The chief justice said that the case was tip of an iceberg. He said they would send the case to Federal Tax Ombudsman and he would recover the embezzled money, as FBR did not seem interested in recovery of the embezzled amount. On the conclusion of the FBR counsel’s arguments the chief justice said though they have not reserved the judgment but in a day or two they would pass an appropriate order.