LAHORE - The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore has taken up an alleged Rs 5 billion scam of registration of vehicles at Excise Taxation and Narcotics Control (ET&NC).

In an investigation conducted earlier by the department it was detected that more than 4,000 heavy vehicles were registered illegally, costing Rs5 billion to the department. Sources said the number of vehicles is 11000.

The sources said usually it happens in the department that a file ready for registration is submitted to MRA for the purpose of registration with a bribe from Rs40,000 to Rs 50,000. The registration documents of auctioned vehicles are sent to the defence authorities concerned for verification. These documents are generally verified by the lower staff there. The documents so prepared are then returned to agent who sells each file for up to Rs300,000. Thus total corruption involved in registration of total 4,000 vehicles registered on fake documents exceeds Rs5 billion.

A similar inquiry was conducted by Chief Minister Inspection Team (CMIT) which also found corruption in the illegal registration but the DG of ET&NC remained unmoved and no action against the responsible was taken. Then someone moved to the NAB office and file a complaint against the corruption on which NAB took notice and started inquiry into the issue.

NAB sent a notice to ET&NC DG, saying, “In connection with the complaint being possessed by this bureau, you are requested to direct the concerned officer to provide consolidated parawise detailed report covering following aspects and along with the attested copies of the relevant record.

It adds: “Service profile of Asif Iqbal Director Excise, summary of vehicles registered by the above said officer, summary of vehicles cancelled suspended that were registered by the above mentioned officer, log history of suspended vehicles that were registered by above said officer, SOPs for the registration of heavy commercial vehicles, SOPs for the registration of army auctioned vehicles, yearwise details of Army auctioned vehicles registered from 2010 to 2018, detailed ownership registration documents record of vehicles LES-17-1978, LES-15-1117, LES-17-1998.”

The notice further said, “The details and documents are required under section 27 of National Accountability Ordinance 1999 and may be furnished to Assistant Director, complaint verification Cell, NAB Lahore through well conversant officer latest by September 25, 2018 positively”.

More than 4,000 vehicles registered on bogus documents by the department were auctioned by the security institution on various occasions.

Some other circles of the ET&NC believed that number of illegally registered vehicle was more than 11,000.

When contacted,  Additional DG Masud ul Haq said, “We have taken army officials onboard in this regard and new auction vouchers will be with security features and vouchers will be issued on one vehicle one voucher basis”. Earlier, he said, there was only one voucher issued for many vehicles auctioned.

The sources further revealed that during 2014 the Motor Registration Authority (MRA), Sahiwal, canceled the registration of 30 army-auctioned vehicles after conducting an inquiry. The inquiry report also pointed out that 30 vehicles registered in Sahiwal on September 10, 2014, were actually registered in the name of the same owner in Lahore on June 22, 2006.

As the year of manufacture of army-auctioned vehicles ranged from 1951 to 1998, but all the vehicles were declared fit by the motor vehicle examiners and the same has been accepted without any diligence by the E&T department. The vehicles had been used for heavy duty and on rough terrains.

An officer said on anonymity said that SOPs for registration of the any vehicle ignore the fact that any vehicle, be it stolen or smuggled, can be registered despite verification of the voucher. Verifications done in 2011 are being honoured in 2016 and fitness certificates obtained even later.

When contacted, ET&NC Director General Akram Asharf Gondal said he was oblivious of the issue, saying he was busy at a budget conference and will talk later.