Customs barred from raiding factories

ISLAMABAD (December 13 2004): The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) has barred customs officials of Directorate General, Intelligence and Investigation, Customs and Excise from raiding the manufacturing units/factories for carrying out on-the-ground inspections. The decision has been taken to check the misuse of powers by the officials of the directorate.

When Business Recorder contacted a senior CBR official to comment on the decision, he said, the director general, Intelligence and Investigation, is no more empowered to conduct raids at the business premises or factories for checking of tax records.

He also said this would curtail their powers, but they still have the authority to confiscate non-duty paid vehicles, and can exercise other powers available under customs notifications.

Sources said here on Sunday the CBR has withdrawn the powers of the directorate to conduct any kind of inspections, and would instead convey/compile all relevant information on proposed operations to the CBR Headquarters in Islamabad, they said, adding the CBR chairman will examine the agency's recommendations for giving orders conducting any kind of operations, if necessary.

The CBR has also empowered the Director General, Intelligence and Investigation, to work as contact person for agencies, including the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), said the sources.

They said the directorate will operate as a co-ordinator between the CBR and these agencies. On behalf of the CBR, the directorate will deal with tax-related cases pending at NAB, FIA, and other outside agencies, they added.

Sources said the CBR has also decided to re-designate the Director General, Intelligence and Investigation, as Directorate General, Intelligence and Vigilance changing the entire working of this intelligence agency keeping in view the reform process and self-assessment regime.

The directorate will soon work under the new name of Directorate General, Intelligence and Vigilance, they added.

Since the new tax structure is going to be voluntary-based instead of assessment-based, the Director General, Intelligence has been directed by the CBR to frame a new charter of the organisation, sources added.

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