The Federal Tax Omdurman (FTO) has taken serious notice of frequent incidents of stolen goods from the Customs warehouses and those operated by the Directorate General, Intelligence & Investigation-Customs.
On Thursday, the FTO issued an order against the Director, Directorate of Intelligence and Investigation (I&I)-Customs, Karachi on account of alleged pilferage of auto parts and fixtures of the seized vehicle under their custody.
The complainant said that it is a case of highhandedness and abuse of powers by the Directorate of (I&I)-Customs, Karachi in whose custody the complainant has been deprived of his property by way of misappropriation and stealing valuable parts, auto parts, accessories, dashboard and tyres of the vehicle.
Later, the complainant approached the storekeeper, where the vehicle in question was parked. It transpired that the entire fixtures, parts, auto parts, and accessories including tyres were missing, obviously stolen i.e., misappropriated in the effective custody of the Directorate of Intelligence and Investigation-Customs, Karachi.
The FTO order said that the Director General, (I&I)-Customs, Islamabad should ensure that proper security arrangements and devices are installed to cover the warehouses to forestall the chances of pilferage.
The FTO also directed Director General, I&I-Customs, Islamabad to personally conduct a fact-finding inquiry against the Director, officers, and staff of the Directorate of l&l Customs, Karachi for non-adherence to the prescribed warehousing procedure under the law, lack of proper records, inventory, inspections and stock taking in the instant case and take disciplinary proceedings under E&D Rules, 2020 against the officers and staff found responsible.
FTO has also recommended that the Director General, (I&I)-Customs, Islamabad pay compensation to the complainant equivalent to the loss incurred on account of pilferage and removal of parts from the vehicle as determined by any mutually agreed third party.
FTO order said that the vehicle involved in the case impounded at the time of seizure was in perfect running condition which was taken into custody by the Directorate and parked within the State Warehouse of the Directorate. Now it is totally dysfunctional and structurally dissected. This fact has not been denied by the Directorate.
The seizure of the vehicle under Section 157 of the Customs Act, 1969 envisages the shifting of the burden of responsibility to the Directorate for its safe custody and presentation before any legal forum as and when required.
The deposit of any goods in the State Warehouse is governed by strict procedures laid down under the Customs Laws and notified vide CGQ 12/2002, dated 15th June 2002, laid down under Chapter-IX, Paras 32-33 ibid.
The said procedure requires making proper inventory including all details, safe custody, regular stock-taking, and periodic inspections by the senior administration from time to time which in this case was neither asserted nor presented by the Directorate with documentary proof which gives credence to the belief that the vehicle was left unattended and without proper security in the premises of the Warehouse. The inventory provided by the Directorate was hopelessly sketchy, vague, and incomplete, FTO order added.