Ex-ombudsman’s order still awaits enforcement: FTO may have to order action against FBR officers again
ISLAMABAD: The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) may have to direct the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) again to implement one of its key recommendations to initiate disciplinary proceedings against two officers posted in Haripur and Abbottabad over maladministration.
In this case, a stay order was vacated by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and the order of former FTO, Mushtaq Sukhera, was confirmed by President Dr Arif Alvi regarding illegal recovery through a bank account.
As per details of the case, a Karachi-based taxpayer approached the FTO with the complaint that officers posted at Haripur and RTO Abbottabad had “illegally” attached his bank accounts and recovered a huge amount without considering that the complainant was assessed for tax in Karachi and no tax demand was outstanding against him at Haripur.
When contacted, tax lawyer Waheed Shahzad Butt, who is representing the taxpayer at the IHC, told this reporter that the president had confirmed the former FTO’s order to recover Rs0.450 million personally from the commissioner and IRO of Haripur/ Abbottabad and pay the same to the complainant taxpayer for illegal attachment of his bank account.
The stay order was also vacated by the IHC but implementation wing of the FTO office has not initiated any proceedings yet.
The lawyer added that earlier the president had fully endorsed the verdicts of the former FTO in cases such as in No 66/2002-Rep (FTO) Law that states: “Sub-section (6) of section 14 of the 2000 Ordinance provides that if the FTO has reason to believe that any tax employee has acted in a manner warranting disciplinary proceedings against him he may refer the matter to the appropriate authority for necessary action.”
In F No 11/2003-Law (FTO), No 12/2003-Rep (FTO) Law and No 218/2004 Law (FTO), the president rejected the representations of the FBR employees against FTO with the directives that “the Chairman CBR shall institute an enquiry to find if any disciplinary action against CIT would be proper and justified”.
Earlier the FTO had directed the FBR to recover Rs0.45 million from Asghar Khan Niazi, CIR, Abbottabad, and Muhammad Rafaqat, IAO, Haripur (costs and compensation) in equal shares and arrange to pay the same to the complainant; fix responsibility regarding administrative excesses, neglect, inattention, delay, incompetence, ineptitude and inefficiency in the administration or discharge of duties and initiate appropriate disciplinary proceedings against the officials found accountable and direct the CIR concerned to issue additional payment for delayed refund to the complainant.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023