Account books misplaced while in Revenue Board custody

ISLAMABAD (January 17 2003) : Several account books of a private medical centre have been misplaced while in the custody of the CBR and the outsourced chartered accountants firm.

The CA firm's audit of the medical centre showed that its income for the assessment year 1998-99 was to be around Rs 32 million, whereas the assessee had filed the return declaring an income of Rs 1.9 million, but revised it twice first at Rs 2.1 million and again at Rs 4.4 million.

The firm M/s Medicare Pakistan (Pvt), Shaheed-e-Millat Road, Karachi, had filed the appeal against the assessment of income at Rs 33 million, and the matter was placed before the appellate tribunals.

In the meantime, the medical centre sought back its records given to the chartered accounts firm of Abdul Wahid and Co, which said these had been given to the office of the Regional Commissioner of Income Tax, Akhtarul Islam Khalid of Circle 12, Karachi, from whose office several books of accounts were misplaced or lost.

The medical centre went to the Federal Tax Ombudsman, former Justice Saleem Akhtar, who declined to entertain the assessment issue as it was subjudice.

But the loss of important books of accounts was a serious issue on which the FTO made strong strictures on the CBR and called for a departmental inquiry and disciplinary action against the delinquent functionaries.

The FTO was shocked to find that the department, on its own, had not instituted any inquiry.

He further observed that if such an act of negligence and carelessness is condoned, it will completely undermine the discipline of the office and would encourage others to indulge in such acts of omission or commission without any fear of punishment or retribution.

The inquiry was carried out by the administrative wing of CBR, which reported to the FTO that the inquiry held the auditors firm M/s Abdul Wahid, DCIT Akhtarul Islam Khalid and Maqsood Jehangir responsible for the misplacement of account books and other record pertaining to Ms Medicare Pakistan.

The committee made the following recommendations:

(a) No fee should be paid to M/s Abdul Wahid and Co for the audit of accounts as the first and foremost mistake was committed by the firm for failing to return the account books to its legitimate owner and instead passed them on to the DCIT's office.

(b) DCIT Akhtarul Islam may be censured for negligence of duty for retaining the books in his office for 14 months and not returning them to the owners.

(c) Warning may be issued to DCIT Maqsood Jehangir for negligence of duty, with the advice to be careful in future.

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