ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday expressed its annoyance over failure of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in implementing its order regarding initiation of regular inquiry against the officials allegedly involved in refund of vouchers to some companies illegally.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed conducted hearing of FBR appeal against Federal Service Tribunal verdict which had acquitted its official allegedly involved in allowing refund of vouchers worth of Rs87 million to three companies in Karachi.

It was September, 2019 when the top court had directed FBR to file the report about inquiry being conducted against its officials involved in refund of vouchers within three months. It had also directed FBR Chairman Shabbar Raza Zaidi to submit report regarding the approval from Prime Minister for taking action against such officials.

During the hearing, FBR acting-Chairperson Nosheen Javed Amjad, Dr Tariq Ghani Chief Legal FBR, and Hafiz S A Rehman FBR counsel appeared before the court. The Justice Gulzar inquired about the action taken against the officials and about the inquiry report. The acting chairman informed that after the Prime Minister’s approval charge-sheet has been issued to Ashfaq Ali Tuneuo, Officer of BPS-21 of Inland Revenue Service (IRS) with statement of allegations, levelled against him.

 She further told the court that an Inquiry Officer has been appointed regarding the matter besides deputing a departmental representative to appear before the inquiry officer and soon the inquiry would be completed. 

He remarked that they were not sitting for listening stories. He questioned why the investigation was not completed within three months time, given by the court. 

He added: “Billions of rupees of the national exchequer were looted while the FBR has no concern for it.” He also said, “If you have no concern then leave your job.”

The Chief Justice stated that if the said money was drawn from FBR officials’ pocket then they would have not sit in their house for a minute. He said the FBR chairman has gone on leave. The acting chairperson told that Shabbar Raza Zaidi is on sick leave. “Since how long Shabbar Raza Rizvi is ill, we know all,” the CJP remarked.

Then the court directed FBR to complete the inquiry in the instant matter within 15 days and deferred the hearing for two weeks for further proceedings.

The FBR had removed Abdul Hameed Anjum, its official, allegedly involved in allowing refund of vouchers worth of Rs87 million to three companies in Karachi. He had challenged his removal before the Federal Service Tribunal (FST) which acquitted him from the alleged charges with the ruling that no evidence was found against the petitioner to support the allegations.

Similarly, two other officials, including Ashfaq Ali Tuneuo, Officer Inland Revenue Service (IRS), FBR, Karachi and Ameerul Haq, Senior Auditor, allegedly also involved in the matter, had also moved the Federal Service Tribunal, which the tribunal had remanded their cases to the FBR with the direction to decide departmental appeal of both the officials.

On the last hearing on September 26, 2019, FBR counsel Hafiz S A Rehman had informed the court that in pursuance of its last order the FBR had constituted a fact-finding committee to probe the matter against two officials. He had further submitted that after investigating the matter in detail, the fact-finding Committee had recommended for initiating a regular inquiry against Ashfaq Ali Tanueo.

Chairman FBR Shabbar Raza Zaidi had informed the court that they have sent a summary to the Prime Minister for getting his approval for initiating a regular inquiry against the official.