How highly sensitive data was given to private company: SC

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TAUSEEF ABBASI

ISLAMABAD

The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday, while expressing annoyance over the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in a case related to computerisation of data, questioned that how the highly sensitive data was given to a private company.

Pakistan Revenue Automation Private Limited (PRAL) company should give reply to the questions raised in the decision of high court. Tell us have the PEPRA rules not been violated while awarding contract to Paral Company.

SC bench presided over by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmad took up for hearing FBR record computerization case Thursday.

CJP remarked   how the so much highly sensitive data was given to a private company. FBR record is highly sensitive. Does FBR assign the collection of tax to private company?

Attorney General said PARAL company is not private company but it is public limited.

CJP remarked are the entire families of FBR officers employees of this company. We ask NAB to investigate by abolishing the PARAL Company. FBR should do its job on its own.

Attorney General said no government officer is getting salary from PARAL company. Company’s job is only to develop software collecting statistics is not the job of company.

CJP asked why FBR does not develop its own IT system.

Acting chairperson FBR Noushin Amjid said technical people don’t come due to less salary in civil service. My salary is less than GM PARAL company.

CJP asked what benefit FBR got due to establishment of PARAL company and did tax recovery of FBR increase.

CJP observed we know it what game is played by FBR officers with online passwords. Tax refunds running into billion of rupees are issued without any reason.  Several cases of illegal tax refunds are in the courts.  If unfair things are done due to online system then what is its use.

Justice Sajjad Sajjad Ali Shah remarked the objective behind forming companies is to pay robust salaries. Why government does not do the job what is got done by it from the companies.

Acting chairperson FBR said revenue department in India has also set up such company.

Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan remarked we are concerned over favoring favorites in the company. There should be transparent method of making appointments in the company. PARAL company profit goes to whom.

CJP remarked PARAL may be doing correct job. But how many containers pass without paying duty.

The court remarked several questions were raised in court decision over PARAL company.  According to FBR PARAL Company is owned by government. According to Attorney General, PARAL has no access to FBR data. Company should give reply to the questions raised in High Court decision.

The hearing of the case was adjourned for one month.