MPs demand action against ‘corrupt’ customs officialsLawmakers have demanded that the government take action against the accused involved in the use of counterfeit customs declaration forms at Bhairahawa Customs Office.
Lawmakers have demanded that the government take action against the accused involved in the use of counterfeit customs declaration forms at Bhairahawa Customs Office. Speaking during the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee meeting on Friday, they sought the government intervention in enforcing reforms to control ongoing revenue leakages.
A few days ago, a customs agent was found using forged customs declaration form to evade customs duty. The customs agent was found evading customs duty by bribing customs officials at the Bhairahawa Customs Office.
Following the incident, the Department of Customs formed a probe panel to investigate the misuse of customs declaration forms. On request of the department, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) also started grilling Customs Officer Man Bahadur Biswakarma, head assistant Subash Sharma, non-gazetted second-class officer Atul Sharma and Binaya Joshi. Lawmaker Ramhari Khatiwada demanded that the government take action against high-level officials as well if they were found guilty. “Most of the time junior staff are penalised while high-level officials do not face any action,” Khatiwada added.
Revenue Secretary Shishir Kumar Dhungana said the case related to the scam at the Bhairahawa Customs Office has been handed over to the CIAA. He said the ministry is planning to integrate data of customs offices and other government offices involved in revenue collection to control revenue leakage in the future.
Dhungana said the ministry would prepare a sample of the data integration system in the next 15-20 days.
Government officials have time and again been found bribing higher authorities seeking transfers to customs offices, one of the most lucrative places where large sums of money can be earned by manipulating customs procedures. “Such officials manage to retain their posts in those offices for many years by influencing high-ranking government officials,” another lawmaker Dhana Raj Gurung said.
The cases of under-invoicing, over-invoicing, use of fake VAT bills and the use of hundi, an informal money transfer channel, have been rampant at customs offices, according to lawmakers.