Rs 54bn embezzled in ISAF containers' case, SC told
05 March, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was informed on Monday that Rs 54.73 billion had been embezzled in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) containers' case and the people involved in looting money have got stay orders from high courts.
The Supreme Court, meanwhile, decided to pass an appropriate order over non-compliance of its judgement in the containers' scandal. Hearing the ISAF missing containers' case, a three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, pointed out to the FBR counsel that the court had given the bureau one year and four months with evidences and complete record of the case, but no progress was made.
The chief justice said that former FBR chairman Salman Siddique made a lot of progress in the case, but after his retirement the whole team which was investigating the case was changed.
Rana Shamim, counsel for the FBR, informed the court that out of the Rs 54.73 billion embezzled money the FBR had recovered only Rs 5.6 million. He said that a significant hurdle that the FBR was facing was that all the importers are Afghan nationals. He said 11,589 show-cause notices were issued and orders were issued in 96 of them. He said the bonded carrier – NLC – had taken stay order from the courts.
The chief justice inquired from the counsel whether the FBR has moved the high courts for the cancellation of the stay orders. Meanwhile, Justice Gulzar Ahmed noted that many customs officers were also involved in the case and questioned whether the FBR had taken action against them. He said that without the connivance of customs officials the goods destined for Afghanistan cannot reach local markets. "They all are hand in glove," he remarked.
The court noted that with the passage of time evidence is spoiled. The chief justice said that the case was just the tip of the iceberg. He said that the court would send the case to the federal tax ombudsman and he would recover the embezzled money, as the FBR seemed uninterested in doing so. On the conclusion of the FBR counsel's arguments the chief justice noted that although the court is not reserving its judgement, but would pass an appropriate order in a day or two.