The Supreme Court (SC) is currently hearing multiple cases related to money laundering and foreign assets owned by Pakistanis and in a relevant inquiry, the committee, headed by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor, submitted the Terms of Reference.
For the purpose, a joint task force will be formed which will comprise officials from:
- Governor, State Bank of Pakistan
- Secretary Finance, Government of Pakistan
- Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Government of Pakistan
- Chairman, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR)
- Deputy Chairman, National Accountability Bureau (NAB)
- Director General, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)
- Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP)
- A representative of Intelligence Bureau (IB)
- A representative of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA)
The committee, in its report, said that FIA has significant details about the properties Pakistanis own in Dubai and it aims to bring those assets back to the country.
The committee will also review details available with FBR about properties held in the UK and will summon individuals owning the properties in these regions.
The report stated that those who admit to owning the properties would be asked to produce money trail while an inquiry would be sought against those who refuse to admit the same.
Foreign assets can be frozen if money trail is not furnished, the report further stated.
The committee will present its report every month in the apex court.
The task force, based on the ToRs submitted in the SC, will proceed in the following manner:
- It will summon the persons identified by the committee for personal hearings. Failure to appear before the JTF will result in the names of the evaders being submitted to the SC in the committee’s monthly reports.
- The persons appearing before the JIT will be asked to confirm if they or their dependents own reported foreign assets. Otherwise, they must submit an affidavit testifying that the said assets do not belong to them.
- In the event of the submission of such an affidavit, the FIA or relevant agency will approach the concerned authorities to initiate proceedings under anti-money laundering legislation, Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 2017 or any other relevant law.
- If ownership of the foreign assets is acknowledged by the persons under inquiry, details about the sources of funds and whether the assets have been declared in wealth statements will have to be provided.
- If the sources of funds are found to be legitimate, but either due tax was not paid or the assets were not duly declared, the FBR will levy and recover the due tax from such persons.
- In cases where the funds cannot be traced back to legitimate sources or the persons are unable to explain the sources used to acquire the funds, the JTF will ask the relevant law enforcement agency to pursue such cases. If it is established that the assets were acquired from proceeds of crime, the law enforcement agency may initiate proceedings to confiscate such assets.
The next hearing is due to take place tomorrow [Monday].