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FBR to establish unit: integrity check on 'corrupt' officials

13 August, 2007

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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has decided to set up a new department, called 'Integrity Enquiry Unit', to conduct integrity checks and inquiries against tax officials, allegedly involved in corrupt practices.

The board would incorporate a new provision in FBR Act 2007 to obtain legal backing for establishment of 'Integrity Enquiry Unit'.

Another power under the FBR Act would allow the tax officials to offer golden handshake scheme to those officials who are not selected for double-pay package.

The Directorate-General of Intelligence and Investigation, Customs and Excise, and FBR Legal experts would finalise the modalities for effective working of the proposed unit.

According to sources, tax officials have expressed displeasure over integrity checks conducted by the D-G, Intelligence. Without sufficient evidence, the integrity of some officials was challenged by the directorate, which only resulted in harassment. There is need of an independent department to thoroughly investigate corruption-related matters within the tax machinery.

Besides, the unit would also be empowered to check the record of tax officials intending to obtain double-pay package. It seems that the board wants to minimise the interference of D-G Intelligence in checking of integrity record of the tax officials.

According to the proposed amendment in the FBR Act 2007, integrity assessment of the applicants, who apply for double-pay package, would also be carried out independently.

The integrity assessment will include formal inquiry conducted on behalf of the Human Resource Management (HRM) Wing by the designated enquiry department, as designated by the board. The integrity assessment will be used as an integral part of the internal job posting process for selection for double-pay package.

The unit would be empowered to collect and verify information about any previous complaints, legal proceedings, and any other evidence that may give rise to an opinion that the official, or employee, under consideration for the posting does or does not possess the necessary integrity.

During the pendency of the integrity check, the applicant will not be stopped from undergoing the internal job posting selection process, it added. The board will also amend the FBR Act 2007 to notify Internal Job Posting Rules, 2007 to notify criteria for giving 100 percent special allowance to the tax officials.

Under the proposed rules, HRM Wing, in consultation with the concerned Member or head of the field formation, will carry out assessment of the manpower requirement of officials and employees for any particular assignment or task.

The notification will clearly indicate the necessary qualifications and basis of eligibility for appointment or selection against the said post. Any applicant shall not be eligible to apply for double-pay package unless his reporting officer has received all his ACRs/PERs.

The application processing procedure has specified that Member HRM will designate a team of officials who shall examine each and every application filed electronically or otherwise and assess if the applicant fulfils the criteria provided for in the notification.

The applications for double-pay package would not be considered unless the applicant has deposited all ACRs/PERs and declaration of the assets. The department shall review applications which are not in conformity with the laid down criteria, to provide an opportunity to the applicant for rectifying errors within a specified period of time.

The rules have specified that the test shall be conducted by the designated external experts under the supervision of department and all test results shall be treated as confidential. As per rules, the FBR would maintain the records of tax officials electronically to conduct the IJP selection process and shall designate a person to act as custodian of manual records.

The department shall also keep in safe custody electronic data including the personal profiles of employees. The applicant who is declared unsuccessful or has any grievance pertaining to IJP process would have the option to apply for another posting; seek further training; accept a voluntary severance package and leave the service of Board or may file an appeal.

Any applicant who is aggrieved from non-selection for special allowance under IJP may file a representation to the HRM Wing within 30 days which shall decide the representation of the applicant within a reasonable period of time. The department may revise or uphold the integrity assessment.

The department shall inform the applicant who otherwise qualify but receive a negative assessment along with the core grounds for assessment. The applicant would have the right to challenge the department's decision through the appeal process

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