SC directs NAB to hold fair probe into NATO containers scandal

supreme court of pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Disposing of a suo motu case of NATO containers scandal, the SupremeCourt (SC) on Wednesday directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to conduct a broad inquiry into the matter and submit fortnightly reports to the court.

A three-member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, also directed NAB to probe the scam in view of a Federal Tax Ombudsman’s (FTO) report.In its report, FTO had told the court that 28,802 commercial Afghan-transit trade containers and 3,396 non-commercial containers were known to have not crossed the Pak-Afghan border.

Raja Irshad, the counsel for FBR, told the court that FBR Chairman Mumtaz Haider Rizvi had reservations on the report. The lawyer sought a two-week adjournment of the case, saying that Rizvi would have to go through the entire record.This annoyed Justice Chaudhry, who asked, “Were we engaged in a futile exercise for two years… We also engaged FTO, which worked on the report in pursuance of the court’s orders?”

“Let the FBR chairman know that the court will not undo the instant matter,” the chief justice said. He also said that NAB would now probe the matter. “Instead of taking goods to Afghanistan, they were allegedly delivered to Peshawar and Chaman,” Justice Chaudhry said. NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Fouzi Zafar read out a report pertaining bureau’s inquiry into the case.In the first phase, he said, NAB was referred 8,000 complaints from an FBR’s probe committee against eight clearing agents and others.

The complaints were about 10,012 containers involving Rs 19.098 billion in the shape of alleged evaded duties and taxes, he added. He said 13 complaints about 11,979 containers with alleged revenue loss of Rs 22.772 billion and four others related to 6,811 containers were also received from the FBR. Zafar said that in addition to complaints about commercial Afghan-transit cargo, a complaint regarding 3,542 non-commercial cargos was also received from FBR. He said NAB had also summoned a record from the Pakistan Railways and NLC to confirm transportation of the containers to their destinations. – Dailytimes