FBR data computerization case: SC seeks answers of high court’s questions

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20 Feb, 2020 3:19 pm

ISLAMABAD (92 News) – A bench of the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday sought answers – questions raised by the high court – in a case related to computerization of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) data.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed heard a case related to Pakistan Revenue Automation Private Limited (PRAL). During the hearing, the chief justice expressed anger over the FBR in a case pertaining to computerization of the record contained by the authority.

CJP Gulzar asked as to why the FBR did not design software itself. “Why extremely sensitive data of the FBR handed over to a private company,” the bench further asked. “How the FBR benefiting from the PRAL?”

 The attorney general argued that the PRAL is not a private entity, it is a public limited company. He informed that the PRAL provides the software to the FBR after its designing and the FBR enters data in it. It is not the job of the company to collect tax data, he further said.

The FBR chairperson informed the court that the people with technical qualifications don’t join the civil service due to lower salaries. “My salary is lesser than the GM of the PRAL,” the FBR chief said.

“We know the game FBR officers play with online passwords,” the chief justice said. “Billions of rupees tax refunds released without any basis,” the chief judge further said. “There are several cases of illegal tax refunds pending in the court,” Justice Gulzar Ahmed said.

“What is benefit of the online system when it used for cheating,” the bench questioned.

Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, observed that forming such companies is only aimed at getting fat pays, why don’t the government perform the job, which it hands over to the companies.

Justice Ejazul Ahsan asked that the persons who have access to the FBR’s data in the company must be identified to the court. “The court must also be told if the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules were violated during signing of a contract between the FBR and the private company.”

The court adjourned the hearing for one month.

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