Official luxury vehicles can’t be sold due to NAB’s fear

The News

ISLAMABAD: The austerity drive has failed to yield any desired results as 24 official vehicles have been put to auction nine times by the FBR’s Customs Department but it could not be sold out because of high prices and fear of NAB investigation against buyers.
The FBR in its official communication sent out to both PM office and Cabinet Division has attributed this failure to high prices of these vehicles with special features and secondly launching of NAB investigation in some of the vehicles of Ministry of Foreign Affairs have made the potential buyers apprehensive.
The so-call austerity drive had failed to dent on widening budget deficit during the outgoing fiscal year that is now all set to touch new heights by touching Rs2.8 trillion till June 30, 2019.
Official documents available with The News disclosed that after making nine attempts to auction total 49 vehicles, half of them or 25 were sold out while remaining 24 could not be auctioned after making numerous attempts in ten months.
Now the FBR has sought clarification from relevant quarters whether it is desirable to dispose of these vehicles through public auctions. Then further actions will be taken about these vehicles will be taken in the light of clarification from Cabinet Division.
The remaining 24 official vehicles might be returned to PM Office or respective ministries/departments.
These vehicles may be returned to the respective departments for official purpose such as for visits of foreign dignitaries/delegation to fully benefit the high cost protective/special features designed for the purpose instead of being disposed of at lower values, said the official sources.
Total 49 vehicles were surrendered to FBR’s Model Customs Collectorate Islamabad under the instruction of PM Office for disposal under auction rules notified vide SRO 450 (1) 2001 dated 18-06-2001. Three vehicles were surrendered by Prime Minister’s House, 9 by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 27 by Cabinet Division and 10 by Intelligence Bureau (IB) to the FBR for the purpose of auction.
The first auction of these vehicles was conducted by the department on 17-09-2018 wherein these could not be disposed of and so far they had made all out seven efforts wherein 25 vehicles were sold to the highest bidders. However, despite best efforts, 24 vehicles could not be disposed of even after 7 rounds of auction primarily because 20 out of them have protective and other features which made them expensive for general buyers.
After repeated auctions and in spite of reduction in reserved prices, reasonable bids could not be fetched for these vehicles. Further reduction in reserved price may not be desirable which may cause sale of these at unnecessary below prices.
Alternatively, these vehicles may be returned to the respective departments for official purpose such as for visit of foreign dignitaries/delegation to fully benefit the high cost protective/special features designed for the purpose and instead of being disposed of at lower values.
The government desired auctioning luxury vehicles such as bulletproof vehicles BMW (760Li) 2014, 2 Mercedes cars (Maybach S600)2016, 2 Mercedes cars (S600L) 2016, 5 Mercedes cars (S500, 600)2005, Mercedes Limousine 2005, 2 Toyota Land Cruiser 2008 and 2015, Luxury Jeep 2005 and 3 Mercedes Jeep 2005.
Other vehicles which were on the auctions list included BMW (X5) 2016, 14 Mercedes cars (S300)93, Lexus jeep 2006, Mitsubishi Pejero 2004, 2006, 2 Mitsubishi Lancer 94, 2 Nissan Jeep 90, 2 Cherokee jeep 95, 3 Toyota Corolla 86 and 91.

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