–Aleema Khan tells court she bought luxury flat in Dubai with 50% bank loan, had informed FBR about its sale
–CJP warns PM’s sister of seizing her property in case she fails to deposit taxes and fine
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday ordered Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khan to deposit Rs29.5 million in taxes and fine for not declaring her assets in Dubai.
A three-member bench headed by CJP Nisar was hearing the suo motu case regarding the foreign properties owned by Pakistani nationals.
Aleema Khan and her lawyer Salman Akram Raja appeared before the court as the chief justice asked the premier’s sister, “How much did you buy the property for and when did you buy it?” To this, Aleema responded, “I bought it for $370,000 in 2008 and sold it last year.”
Furthermore, Justice Nisar questioned Aleema if she purchased the property with her own money, to which Aleema said, “I did take a loan from the bank to pay 50 per cent of the total amount, whereas the other 50 per cent was my own money.”
Aleema’s counsel Salman Akram Raja then said, “We have submitted details of bank transactions and accounts in court.” The chief justice remarked, “Then deposit Rs18 million within a week.”
At this, the commissioner inland who probed Aleema Khan’s tax details informed the court, “As per our estimate in keeping with the documents, Aleema has to file tax returns worth Rs29.5 million.”
Further, the bench remarked, “Aleema Khan will have right of appeal, however, before that she will have to file income tax returns.”
Justice Nisar added, “If the deposit is not made then her property will be seized.”
Earlier, CJP Nisar took suo motu notice of Aleema’s property in Dubai on November 28. Following this, Aleema deposited half of the total cost of her previously undeclared Dubai property with tax authorities as a penalty.
Aleema had paid 25 per cent of the total estimated amount of her luxurious flat, “The Lofts East-1406”, in taxes and 25 per cent fine charges. The prime minister’s sister was slapped with a double penalty (taxes and fine) because she did not disclose the property worth around Rs74 million.
Aleema, in her affidavit submitted with FIA, stated: “The Lofts East:1460 was paid for from funds generated from my business dealings overseas. Further, I have already disposed of my property and have also informed the FBR about the purchase and sale of the said property.”
On October 27, FIA had submitted in the Supreme Court (SC) the details of 44 close relatives of prominent political personalities who owned properties in the UAE.
Following this, the court was informed that further investigations have been recommended by the FBR against 14 out of 20 people.
Earlier, the FBR had informed the SC that Aleema Khan did not benefit from a tax amnesty scheme on a flat in Dubai.
Appearing before a two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, Inland Revenue Service (IRS) Lahore Commissioner Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan had submitted that media reports of Aleema Khan taking the amnesty were incorrect.
The SC had asked the FBR to provide the court with Aleema’s tax details in a sealed envelope after a tax official claimed that the PM’s sister had benefited from the amnesty scheme and thus her tax information was confidential.
The court has taken up a case against 44 ‘politically exposed individuals’ or their benamidars who possessed properties in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
MONEY SIPHONED OFF:
The list of politically exposed people was part of an annexure submitted to a three-judge SC bench comprising Justices Nisar, Faisal Arab and Ijazul Ahsan.
Taking suo motu notice of the matter, the apex court had observed that it appeared the money siphoned off abroad without payment of taxes through illegal channels represented either ill-gotten gains or kickbacks from public contracts.
“Such money creates gross disproportion, inequality and disparity in society, which warps economic activity and growth, and constitutes plunder and theft of national wealth,” it had said.
In an earlier order, the court had also observed that it was common knowledge for years that a large number of Pakistani citizens were maintaining their bank accounts in other countries without disclosing these to the authorities competent under the laws of Pakistan or paying taxes on the same in accordance with the law.