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LAHORE: The Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy of Mayo Hospital has honoured Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) Dr Asif Mehmood Jah for his intervention to get release a radiation machine from Customs department for the treatment of cancer patients.

The radiation machine was stuck up with Customs department since April 2023 and the FTO directed release of the same keeping in view sensitive nature of the equipment as well as the noble cause of serving humanity, particularly the cancer patients.

According to details, Mayo Hospital had imported a Cobalt-60 Source to provide radiation facility for cancer patients. No such machine was available with the public sector hospitals prior to it. The machine was lying in the shed of Collectorate of Customs due to non-availability of funds to pay the outstanding charges of M/s Gerry’s.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mayo Hospital Lahore had filed a complaint with the FTO against the Collectorate of Customs, Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore after refusal from M/s Gerry’s Dnata to honour Delay and Detention Certificate (DDC) issued by Assistant Collector Customs. He had requested to waive off charges and release the equipment on an urgent basis. It was followed by a direction by the FTO for the release of machine.

However, the FTO’s direction was challenged before the office of President of Pakistan. The president held three hearings and upheld the direction while regretting that the radiation machine has been lying in the shed of the Collectorate of Customs, Lahore, refusing the release it without payment of extra cost for keeping the shipment at the warehouse of Gerry’s Dnata. It may be noted that the Customs authorities had issued a DDC for waiving off the storage/demurrage charges.

M/s Gerry’s further challenged a direction from President of Pakistan in the Islamabad High Court, which disposed of in limine while directing it to release the machine forthwith. Talking to Business Recorder, FTO Dr Jah said he had decided the matter in two weeks keeping in view the urgency of the issue, as thousands of cancer patients were unable to avail the facility of radiation because of a delay in release of the machine.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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