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PTI Govt Swoops Down on Customs Officials; 7 Sacked for Alleged Wheat Smuggling

The sacked officials of FBR — 7 in number — were part of the Torkham and Chaman Customs operations

DESPARDES — Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday ordered sweeping action against customs officials with tainted reputation in an effort to weed out corruption from the country’s top tax body.

The order for action incidentally came a day after a report in the print media revealed that a network of top FBR officials were involved in large-scale misdeclaration of description and value of imported goods in over 900 containers causing losses worth billions to the national exchequer.

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According to the report, the national exchequer suffered a loss of Rs4 billion due to the intentional misdeclaration of imported goods by some senior high-ranking officials. The report cited a Customs Intelligence report.

A number of high ranking officials — including four top collectors — have been removed from posts due to their failure to control smuggling in various forms, including misdeclaration of valued goods and evasion of taxes, a government source privy to the massive probe confided to APP.

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The officials were dismissed from service over their alleged involvement in wheat smuggling in the backdrop of wheat shortage and unbridled flour prices across the country.

The sacked officials of FBR — 7 in number — were part of the Torkham and Chaman Customs operations, the sources told INP.

The action has been taken to stem illegal inflow of foreign-origin goods without payment of duty and taxes on them.

Meanwhile, the FBR has missed the tax collection target of first half of the ongoing fiscal year by Rs287 billion that may force the government to introduce mini budget to achieve the annual target.