According to Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) officials, thousands of vehicles were registered via phony auctions in the name of government departments.
In a letter to ACE, the concerned government department confirmed that it had never auctioned these vehicles and the vouchers that were alleged to have been issued by the department are fake.
According to ACE, some employees of the provincial excise and taxation department registered these vehicles, exacting losses of billions of rupees on the provincial treasury.
The officials said that they have found data of bank transactions worth millions of rupees from the recipients of the auction money besides tracing records of non-custom paid vehicles.
They claimed that the excise officials registered non-custom paid vehicles to make quick money. They had made some money off the scam, but it meant thousands of cars were not custom cleared.
According to reports, some officials at the Punjab Excise Department registered 7,013 vehicles in the name of an auction between 2015 and 2018. ACE got wind of the activity and started investigating the matter. Upon inquiry, ACE found out that the said auction never happened, and billions have been lost to the scam.
If these cars were imported through the normal channels, the government could have earned at least Rs. 9 million off each car registered and cleared but instead have lost Rs. 300 billion to this mega scam.
Yet, no action has been taken nor has the ACE reflected on any plan to tackle this issue. The officials also refuse to release the names of the parties involved, including the excise officials and the private party.
This is not the first time it has happened. Recently, in September 2020, ACE had caught corruption in Excise, where the action was taken against the excise officers.