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ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), on Thursday, accepted the response of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) with some observations that gave a clean chit to the former chairman FBR and top chartered accountant Shabbar Zaidi by rejecting allegations of favouring “six big companies” in obtaining refunds of Rs 16 billion.

Rana Tanveer Hussain chaired the meeting which took a story published in a section of the press that alleged that former chairman FBR issued allegedly refunds to his so-called clients including cement companies, a few banks and a fertiliser/food company. All companies are large corporate entities and tax compliant.

Chairman FBR Dr Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed said that former chairman was not associated with any of the companies during his tenure as chairman who did not have any role in payments in refund cases.

The FBR has also acknowledged that the former FBR chairman has never issued instructions to the field formations for issuance of refunds. “There is no record of such instructions,” the FBR added.

Citing some experts’ comments, chairman PAC said that they thought former chairman FBR belonging to private sector and might showed some softness in refunding claims of the companies.

Member committee Syed Naveed Qamar said that no explanation was given in the FBR response that did former chairman give out of turn payments to the big companies as he belonged to private sector and might give the companies refund on priorities.

Khawaja Asif said that he should not accept the slot of the chairman FBR, which brought controversies to him. Rohail Asghar said the allegation was unfound if the FBR cleared more refund claims than made in the media report otherwise, allegation was correct, if specific companies were cleared refund claims.

Muhammad Talha Mahmood said that services of Auditor General of Pakistan or some other accountancy firm should be hired for thorough investigation. The committee further directed the FBR to expedite court cases to recover stuck up public money.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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