Dr.Muhammad Shoaib Suddle

Dr. Muhammad Shoaib Suddle’s Overview

Current:

Federal Tax Ombudsman at Government of Pakistan

Past:

Director General at Intelligence Bureau
Inspector General of Police at Government of Sindh
Director General at National Police Bureau

Education:

University of the Punjab, Lahore
University of Wales, Cardiff
University of Wales, Cardiff

Official Website: Federal Tax Ombudsman Website

 

Dr. Shoaib Suddle is regarded as a leading police and justice sector reform specialist in South Asia. He is a visiting criminal justice expert at the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute on Crime Prevention and Treatment of Offenders, Tokyo, advisor Turkish National Police, and a resource person with several national and international organizations, including United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Vienna. He is also International Director of Asia Crime Prevention Foundation, Tokyo.

Dr. Suddle has an MSc (Econ.) in criminology and a PhD in white-collar crime from Cardiff University (Wales, UK), MSc (Physics) from Government College Lahore, and an LLB from the University of the Punjab. His doctoral thesis was on tax evasion. He is author of several publications on justice sector issues published both in Pakistan and abroad. He is regularly invited to speak at various international conferences around the world.

Dr. Suddle currently holds the constitutional post of Federal Tax Ombudsman of Pakistan. Before his latest job, he headed the Intelligence Bureau (Pakistan’s premiere civilian intelligence agency), following his stint as Inspector General Police, Sindh. He began his police career in 1973 and has held several key positions both at operational and strategic levels, including as Police Chief of Balochistan, Director General, National Police Bureau, Consultant in the National Reconstruction Bureau, Director General, Bureau of Police Research & Development, Police Chief of Karachi, Deputy Commandant, National Police Academy, and Director (Economic Crime), Federal Investigation Agency. His role in controlling urban terrorism in Karachi in mid 1990s and difficult law and order situation in Balochistan (2001-04) earned him wide acclaim, both nationally and internationally. In recognition of his exceptional contribution, he was decorated with the top gallantry award of Hilal-e-Shujaat in 1996 and top civil award of Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 2008.

Specialties

Justice Studies, Justice Sector Reform, Counter Terrorism, Comparative Police Administration, Police Training, White Collar Crime

Dr. Muhammad Shoaib Suddle’s Experience

Federal Tax Ombudsman

Government of Pakistan

June 2009 – Present (3 years 1 month)

As Federal Tax Ombudsman, I hold a constitutional office having a four-year fixed term. I’m responsible for addressing taxpayers’ complaints of maladministration against the Federal Board of Revenue, including complaints of corruption. I have the same powers as the Supreme Court of Pakistan, including the power to take suo moto action, and an appeal against my decision lies with the President of Pakistan.

Director General

Intelligence Bureau

July 2008 – May 2009 (11 months)

As head of Intelligence Bureau, I was responsible for leading the premiere civilian intelligence agency of Pakistan. My mandate included providing timely, meaningful and actionable intelligence to the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, covering both internal and external spheres.

Inspector General of Police

Government of Sindh 

April 2008 – June 2008 (3 months)

As top law enforcement officer of the province of Sindh, I commanded a police force of over 100,000. Main responsibilities included dealing with all aspects of law enforcement, its reform and modernization. Anti-corruption was also a major responsibility.

Director General

National Police Bureau

May 2004 – April 2008 (4 years)

Mainly responsible for justice sector reform, its modernization and capacity building, including overseeing implementation of a significant part of US$350 million Access to Justice Program funded by Asian Development Bank. Being a leading member of National Think Tank on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Reform, I played a key role in conceiving and implementing long due reforms in Pakistan. As I was also Secretary National Public Safety Commission during this period, I routinely interacted with overseas justice sector delegations to exchange views on Pakistan’s public safety policies.

Inspector General Police, Balochistan

Government of Pakistan

September 2001 – May 2004 (2 years 9 months)

I was posted as chief of police Balochistan (the province bordering restive south Afghanistan) the same week as 9/11. In addition to routine law enforcement responsibilities, I was responsible for dealing with post 9/11 counter-terrorism challenges. It was because of exceptional law and order successes during my time that I was awarded the top civil award of Hilal-e-Pakistan.

Director General

Bureau of Police Research & Development

February 2000 – September 2001 (1 year 8 months)

As top adviser of the Ministry of Interior, my mandate included justice sector reform and modernization and development of police forces of Pakistan.

Officer on Special Duty

Government of Sindh

November 1996 – February 2000 (3 years 4 months)

Worked on criminal justice reforms in Pakistan, in particular on comparative criminal justice systems. This research led, in 2002, to replacement of the 141-year old Police Act of 1861. I also completed three-year law degree (LLB) during this period.

Chief of Police, Karachi

Government of Sindh

June 1995 – November 1996 (1 year 6 months)

When I was posted as police chief of Karachi, the city was faced with the worst tide of urban terrorism. More than 300 people were killed in June 1995, and the violence was spiraling by the day. However, the killing fields of Karachi were effectively tamed and by February 1996 the city was brought back to complete normalcy. Due to this rare contribution, I was awarded Pakistan’s highest gallantry award of Hilal-e-Shujaat. Other than countering terrorism, my responsibilities included dealing with complex law enforcement challenges of the mega city of Karachi, and administration and management of a police force of over 25,000.

Chief of Police, Rawalpindi

Government of Punjab

September 1993 – July 1995 (1 year 11 months)

As police administrator of a police force of over 10,000, I was responsible for matters related with law enforcement, police management, anti-corruption, etc. I also envisioned the setting up of first all women police station in Pakistan.

Deputy Commandant

National Police Academy

January 1991 – September 1993 (2 years 9 months)

Education and training of mid-level and senior police and justice sector officers, including study of comparative criminal justice systems. Anti-corruption laws of various countries were included in the syllabus during my time.

Director Economic Crime

Federal Investigation Agency

January 1989 – January 1991 (2 years 1 month)

Being the only officer in the Police Service of Pakistan with a PhD in white-collar crime, I headed the Economic Crime Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency – Pakistan’s premiere anti-corruption outfit – for almost two years. My main responsibilities included overseeing investigation of corruption cases, commercial frauds, banking frauds, matters of mutual legal assistance, etc.

Various staff and command jobs

Government of Pakistan

January 1973 – January 1989 (16 years 1 month)

Joined police as Assistant Superintendent of Police in 1973 and held various staff and command responsibilities at sub division and district level, as also deputy director (research), National Police Academy, Islamabad.

Dr. Muhammad Shoaib Suddle’s Skills & Expertise:

 

Investigation
Counter-terrorism
Law Enforcement
Criminal Justice
Police
Crime Prevention
Government
Governance
Homeland Security

Dr. Muhammad Shoaib Suddle’s Education:

University of the Punjab, Lahore

LLB, Law

1997 – 1999

 

University of Wales, Cardiff

PhD, White Collar Crime

1985 – 1988

 

University of Wales, Cardiff

MSc (Econ.), Criminology, Police Administration

1983 – 1984

 

Government College University, Lahore

MSc, Physics

1968 – 1970

 

Dr. Muhammad Shoaib Suddle’s Additional Information:

Groups and Associations:
  • Global Ombudsman Network logo
    Global Ombudsman Network

Contact Dr. Muhammad Shoaib for:

career opportunities
consulting offers
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business deals
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getting back in touch

Message from the Federal Tax Ombudsman Pakistan:

It gives me great pleasure to launch the Federal Tax Ombudsman’s (FTO’s) website. This initiative is a critical component of our strategy to strengthen complaint filing and decision support system for the aggrieved taxpayers. The Website provides working knowledge of the legal and procedural framework, organisational and administrative set-up of FTO Secretariat and addresses of FTO Secretariat, Islamabad and the Regional Offices. It also contains FTO’s landmark decisions on complaints which indicate the extent of relief being provided by FTO Secretariat to the aggrieved taxpayers.

The recent initiatives being packaged by FTO Secretariat are focused on providing inexpensive and speedy justice to the taxpayer aggrieved by tax maladministration. For this purpose two more regional offices are being operationlised in the country at Quetta and Peshawar. A state of the art online complaint filing system is also being put in place to reduce time and cost of complaint filing. The objective of introduction of information technology is to achieve a highly enabled paperless environment. In addition, an FTO – taxpayer interface has been established through periodic meetings with Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Trade Bodies, Business Associations, Tax Bars and the Civil Society Organisations in the country.

Similarly we have undertaken business process reengineering of our operating procedures to improve our output and productivity. The capacity building and professionalisation of the FTO Secretariat is an ongoing process to achieve higher levels of professionalism and to ensure good governance in the revenue administration.

While, the core objective is to provide an efficient and effective external equalizer in the form of FTO Secretariat to the less privileged, unempowered and underserved taxpayers against tax maladministration, our priority goals are to induce taxpayer friendliness of tax administration, remove tax related irritants, reduce cost of doing business and promote a conducive tax culture in Pakistan.

I believe the Website is user friendly. Suggestions to improve it will be welcome.

DR. MUHAMMAD SHOAIB SUDDLE
Federal Tax Ombudsman

 

Annual Reports: 

 

 

For Annual Reports Please Visit Official Website Of FTO:

http://www.fto.gov.pk/AnnualReports.php

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH MR. M SHOAIB SUDDLE:

: Federal Tax Ombudsman:The Office of Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) was established in 2000, as a quasi-judicial forum to address contentious issues between various tax departments and taxpayers. The core function of the Office is to diagnose, investigate, redress and rectify any injustice done to a person through maladministration by functionaries administering tax laws in a transparent manner, and within minimum possible timeframe. The Office keeps a vigilant eye on the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in resolving the grievances of tax-payers, also encompassing systemic issues. UTrade held an exclusive session with Honourable Dr. Muhammad Shoaib Suddle, Federal Tax Ombudsman, to understand the role of FTO.
Dr. Suddle did MSc (Econ.) in criminology and a PhD from Cardiff University, UK. He also has an MSc in Physics from Government College Lahore, and an LLB from Punjab University. He is a regular speaker at international conferences around the world. Dr. Suddle has authored numerous publications on aspects of justice sector issues.
UTrade: For the benefit of our readers, kindly brief us about the mandate of FTO and its charter and purpose.
Dr.  Suddle: The Swedish word ‘ombudsman’ means a representative of public interest.  The Ombudsman acts as a watchdog on public officials. The Tax Ombudsman is an important Office to  keep the FBR officials in check and hold them accountable. The Office aims at promoting good governance not only in FBR, but across Pakistan, by acting as a role model for other accountability institutions. The FTO procedures are simple, not cumbersome like the judicial processes. The whole emphasis is rather on informal resolution of disputes. Our core values are Integrity, Efficiency, Objectivity, Accessibility, and Transparency.
UTrade: How do you receive complaints?
Dr. Suddle: We receive complaints formally from individual taxpayers.  We also have the authority to take suo moto action.  The President of Pakistan, the Parliament, the Supreme Court and the High Courts can send us references on topical tax-related issues for in-depth investigations. If a party does not agree with our Findings / Recommendations, it can file a Review before the FTO, or a Representation before the Hon’ble President of Pakistan.
UTrade: How many cases have been resolved in your tenure?
Dr. Suddle: Starting June 2009, we have decided almost 3,000 formal complaints, and resolved over 196,000 systemic cases informally.  Resolving over 196,000 cases under suo moto jurisdiction was exceptional, as not one case had been so resolved during the earlier years that the FTO Office had existed. We also conducted a major investigation into ‘ISAF Container Scam’, after we received a Reference from the Hon’ble Supreme court of Pakistan. The refunds that the taxpayers were able to receive during 2010, with the FTO’s intervention, exceeded Rs7 billion, an amount more than 32 times the average for past 9 years. During 2009, we cleared all complaints that were pending from 2005 to 2008. We were able to reduce the average time taken by a complaint to decide from 117 days in 2009 to 67 days in 2010, which has been further reduced to less than 60 days during 2011.
UTrade: What types of complaints FTO office mostly receives?
Dr. Suddle: We receive complains related to tax maladministration, including  complaints pertaining to undue delay in tax / duty drawback refunds, non-response to taxpayers’ correspondence, non-observance of mandatory timelines by tax officials, arbitrary and oppressive decision-making, inconsistent decisions, discriminatory dispensations, loss of case records, inefficient and corrupt practices. Most complaints are from small and medium businesses as they fall in a relatively vulnerable category.
UTrade: What steps are involved in addressing a complaint?
Dr. Suddle:  After we receive a formal complaint, we review it and then send it to the FBR for comments. The process generally takes two to three weeks.   The comments are then shared with the complainant, who may file a rejoinder. A hearing is then fixed by the concerned Advisor, and in relatively simpler cases in one or two hearings a decision is taken. The case is then referred to me and I issue the final Findings / Recommendation, if necessary after hearing the complaint afresh. The FBR is required to implement the Findings / Recommendations within 30 days. If a party does not agree with the Findings / Recommendations, it may either file a Review before the FTO, or a Representation before the President. Of the Reviews / Representations filed, almost 90% are from FBR and only 10% by the taxpayers.
UTrade: How much work load does FTO have and what is the staff to complaints ratio?
Dr. Suddle: We receive about 1,400 formal complaints a year. These complaints are investigated by 8 Advisors. Our staff, including support staff, is less than 200. Of the sanctioned staff, almost one third positions are  vacant as we do not have adequate   office space available, particularly in Islamabad where we are scattered in four different places:  I sit in the FTO Office (5A Constitution Avenue), and then we have 2 offices in STP building and one in Blue Area. We need to sit together as that is critical to efficiency and accountability.  However, we are trying to overcome some of these difficulties through increased use of information technology.
UTrade: Any plans to receive complaints online?
Dr. Suddle: We are in the process of bringing about a real change in the FTO Office through enhanced automation. We have started implementing an E-enablement plan under which there will be complete automation. The system will probably be implemented substantially by the end of this year, or by next year, depending on the availability of funds. The aim is to become a paperless office. This would help a great deal to raise more awareness amongst the taxpayers, and provide quicker relief to the aggrieved taxpayers. It will also go a long way in promoting transparency and accountability in the FTO Office. As regards receiving complaints on line, the system is already in place, and is currently being tested for making it more taxpayer-friendly.
UTrade: Are there any FTO offices in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar, and if so how are they monitored?
Dr. Suddle:  Yes, Lahore and Karachi are the main offices, after Islamabad. I visit these offices regularly every month to conduct hearings, and do other official business. Quetta has relatively fewer complaints, while Peshawar is not an elaborate office as yet.
UTrade: How is the e-enablement programme going?
Dr. Suddle: The software is in the testing phase and we are working on it to remove any bugs. We do not wish to upload it until it is finally tested.  If the expectations are not fully met, the complainants will feel frustrated.  Similarly, we are also trying to develop an online interface with FBR so that our to and fro communications become simpler and quicker.  We would want every official of FBR across Pakistan to be just a click of a button away. With an online system, the average time taken to dispose of a complaint will be substantially reduced.
UTrade:   FTO was instrumental in conducting the investigation of I.S.A.F. container scam? Did you face any hurdles or pressure?
Dr. Suddle:  This was the first such reference that the FTO Office ever received from the Supreme Court. I am glad that our report was widely appreciated not only by the Supreme Court but the entire nation. I would not say pressure as I do not take pressures. But yes it was quite an uphill task.  I never thought that there were so many black holes in the Customs side of FBR.    When we started the investigation we were told by the FBR that no such container went missing. However, as the investigation proceeded, the FBR admitted that 52 containers did go missing.  As no hard evidence was made available by the Afghan Customs, despite repeated efforts, we were left with no option but to estimate extent of the suspected rip-off by applying certain assumptions.  We soon found out that the number of missing Afghan Transit Trade containers was actually far greater than what the FBR would like us to believe.  Our minimum figure of 7,922 missing containers for 2007-10 was initially criticised by the vested interests.  But the FBR’s latest progress report has revealed that not 7,922 but at least 24,000 containers went missing during the period under report, confirming the FTO finding that the figure of 7,922 was possibly just a ‘tip of the iceberg.’ It is my hope that the FTO investigation will lead the FBR to put in place effective countermeasures against future multi-billion-rupee scams.
UTrade:  Were the culprits prosecuted?
Dr. Suddle: Prosecution of culprits comes under the FBR’s domain. When FBR started issuing show cause notices to hundreds of officials, I had written to them to focus principally on those against whom sufficient evidence was available. I am now more than convinced that creating too much smoke will end up in ensuring that the real culprits were not brought to justice.
UTrade:  Any proof about the involvement of I.S.A.F. officials?
Dr. Suddle: There were instances showing import of transit goods under fake I.S.A.F. documents. However, much more work was needed before issuing a clean chit to the I.S.A.F. officials. As corruption is everywhere, we need to ensure that transit regime is as fool-proof as we possibly can make it.
UTrade:  Transparency International recently published a Citizen Report Card (CRC) study on FTO, conducted by Islamic Countries Society of Statistical Sciences. It was first such independent study on a public sector organization in Pakistan. What was the report about and what were its findings?
Dr.  Suddle: The research was meant to evaluate our working practices, and audit our performance, by asking taxpayers who actually interacted with us during 2009 and 2010. When I suggested such a study should be conducted, my sole objective was to address any weak areas and gaps in our performance that might come to light through this research.   However, the outcome of the study turned out to be more positive than expected.   Declaring that the Office of the FTO was the cleanest public sector office in Pakistan, the study validated what many taxpayers already knew. The study also says that being the most efficient and the most taxpayer-friendly organisation, the FTO Office was a role model for other public sector organizations in Pakistan.  Any credit for this exceptional approval rating of course goes to the entire team working in various FTO offices.
UTrade: Many complainants argue that they cannot get relief from FBR as long as it is assigned revenue targets by the government.  So in that scenario how can they get relief from the same organization which imposes undue tax burden on them? What role FTO can play to rectify this situation?
Dr. Suddle: Fixing unrealistically high revenue targets for the FBR only exacerbates tax maladministration. Research by the World Bank and Transparency International shows the fairer a tax system, the higher the tax revenues. Or less arbitrary and oppressive a tax organisation, the more the tax it will be able to collect. If the taxpayers don’t trust the tax administration, they won’t be willing to pay the tax due. There is therefore an urgent need that FBR establishes a robust and credible internal complaints handling mechanism within its organisation.  Let the top management act as effective internal ombudsman of FBR.  If FBR’s internal complaints handling mechanisms become really effective, the FTO would be receiving fewer complaints, enabling him to focus more on systemic issues.
UTrade: What are the major improvements which have taken place in FTO since you took over?
Dr.  Suddle: Over the past two years, there has been a sea change as far as the working of FTO is concerned. When I took oath of Office in June 2009, even complaints from 2005 were pending. The first challenge that I gave myself was to liquidate all pending complaints pertaining to 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. We indeed achieved that target by 31 December, 2009. By 31 March 2010, there was no pending complaint that pertained to the year 2009.  We are for the first time resolving taxpayers’ issues running into hundreds of thousands by taking suo moto notice. The average decision time / complaint has been drastically curtailed to 60 days, from 117 days for 2009.  We have made special efforts to ensure that our Findings / Recommendations are implemented promptly. Our computerisation programme has already started giving dividends. We have taken lot of pains on improving capacity of our staff, through on-going training conducted both locally and internationally. The CRC study was an exceptional leap forward in getting independent feedback on our working.
UTrade: What is FTO’s office opinion on shutting down of PaCCS?
Dr. Suddle: During the investigation of I.S.A.F. container scam, we discovered that the thousands of containers that went missing were handled through One Customs: the semi automated clearance system developed by FBR’s PRAL.  Although we did not have time to go for a critical appraisal of PaCCS, we did make a strong recommendation that there should be only one fully automated system of goods clearance.  There were suggestions that PaCCS too had certain problems. We are monitoring the implementation of our recommendations. I am not privy to the latest situation of FBR’s negotiations with Agility regarding possible purchase of PaCCS by FBR, but I am absolutely clear that there should be only one fully automated clearance system that begs minimum interaction between the taxpayer and tax officials.
UTrade:  Any specific areas where FTO’s internal working can be improved?
Dr.  Suddle: We are continuously simplifying the internal procedures. When I took over, it was necessary for a complainant to file an affidavit in support of his / her complaint. I abolished that requirement. The FTO law does not require a complainant to engage a tax lawyer or tax consultant to represent him / her in proceedings before the FTO. We rather prefer a complainant to argue his / her own case. We need to take more steps to ensure that our Findings / Recommendations are promptly implemented. Just issuing orders is not good enough.   Our emphasis is shifting to actual resolution of disputes. We are hoping that once the computerization takes place we can monitor implementation on real time basis.  Unless the decision made is implemented it is of no use to the taxpayer. We are also seriously trying to address the taxpayers’ long-standing grievance of filing of unnecessary representations before the President by the FBR.
UTrade: The end benefit of tax collection should be passed on to the society. While in Pakistan lack of civic amenities and basic necessities is one reason people are reluctant to pay taxes. Why common man bears the burden of increasing taxation when in return the government is not providing anything?
Dr. Suddle: Fair and equitable taxation is a complex issue. I have done original research on the subject and my PhD thesis was also on tax evasion. So I understand the various aspects of this issue in greater depth. For tax base to increase the tax system should be fair and the tax officials should be accountable. How the tax authorities treat a taxpayer, and more importantly what a taxpayer perceives to get in return are factors critical to tax compliance.  If a taxpayer feels that while he is paying taxes due to him, others who ought to pay their share of taxes are not doing so, he is unlikely not to evade.  To increase the tax base, all doctors, engineers, lawyers, actors, singers, retailers, wholesalers, who are not in the tax net, must be made to pay their due share.  Rather they should become role models for other potential taxpayers.  Likewise, all income, irrespective of its source, should be taxed. Finally, a part of tax collected from a community should be spent locally on improving various public services.
UTrade: Finally, how hopeful are you that FTO office will prevail over the tax injustices?
Dr. Suddle: Well, these are challenges that must be met. No society can hope to sustain itself, much less modernise and develop itself, without addressing the critical issues of social and economic injustices. I believe that while we have already made a huge difference in the lives of taxpayers in Pakistan, we need to continue to strive hard for a more just, fair, equitable and less cumbersome tax system.

 

 

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