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Suddle sends senior official to jail for contempt

25 December, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO), Dr Shoaib Suddle, has convicted an additional commissioner for committing contempt of court and has sentenced him to three months' imprisonment with a fine of Rs50,000. An apology he submitted was also rejected.

The convicted official, AC Inland Revenue, Faisalabad, Muhammad Saleem, was taken into custody by the police for sending him to the Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, to serve out the sentence.

The conviction is a first by a tax ombudsman and may become a precedent for similar action in many cases being heard by the FTO, analysts said.

Muhammad Saleem, Additional Commissioner, Inland Revenue, Faisalabad, was charged with committing contempt of Court by using derogatory language and causing obstructions in the process of the FTO in granting relief to taxpayers.

He was, therefore, issued a show cause notice of contempt. Instead of filing a reply to the same, he resorted to making a representation before the President of Pakistan, which was dismissed. He also filed almost 10 frivolous writ petitions before the High Court, which too met the same fate.

On becoming helpless, he tendered an unqualified apology to the Federal Tax Ombudsman, who considering the same as a mere tool to escape from the legal clutches, convicted and sentenced him to simple imprisonment for three months with a fine of Rs50,000 under Section 5 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003 while exercising the powers conferred upon him under Section 16 of the FTO Ordinance read with Article 204 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

It was ordered that in default of payment of fine, he will suffer simple imprisonment for a further 15 days.

End.

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