ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has directed inquiry officers to complete their reports on an urgent basis against officials allegedly involved in misconduct.
In a notification issued on Wednesday stated that inquiry officers were not complying to instructions in completing their reports after lapse of time and with inordinate delay.
The FBR said: “Whereas it is understood that Government Servants Efficiency & Disciplinary (E&D) Rules, 1973, themselves do not unequivocally provide a time frame within which an inquiry has to be completed, however, the urgency in completing the inquiries is implicit in procedure provided under Rule 6 of the E&D Rules, whereby it has been instructed that an ‘inquiry officer or committee, as the case may be, shall hear the case from day to day basis and no adjournment shall be given except for reasons to be recorded in writing.”
The FBR further said that the Prime Minister’s Officer, through the Cabinet Division, had directed that all enquiries initiated under the E&D Rules, pending in any level beyond three months, shall be finalized on merit, and submitted to the concerned quarters within 90 working days.
Furthermore, appointment as an inquiry officer under the relevant rules is a sacred trust, bearing both responsibilities, to the State, the nation and the department, and obligations – to be fair, impartial and just, the FBR said.
“It is again noted with concern that inquiry reports being received by the board and being submitted to authorized officers in the field formations do not qualify against the basic benchmark,” the FBR said, adding that in so many cases, inquiry officers have not established the charges leveled, citing inability or failure on part of the DR to provide a certain document or prove the charge.
“It should be noted that an inquiry officer is not a judge presiding over an adversarial judicial system where two different parties have to prove or disprove their case.”
As the title itself implies, an inquiry officer has to inquire into the subject matter and, under Rule 7 of the E&D Rules, 1973, can exercise the powers to ‘summon any person, required production of documents, and receive evidence, the FBR said.
The FBR said that it expects the inquiry officers shall actively inquire into and apply an independent mind to arrive at a conclusion and not rely only on the ability of the DR to prove or disprove the charges leveled.