— FBR official says Rs340m have been recovered, recovery of another Rs768m is expected
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday reprimanded the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) over “slow” investigation into the foreign assets case.
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court (SC) headed by CJP Nisar heard the suo motu case pertaining to foreign properties owned by Pakistani nationals, where the bench was informed by an FBR official that Rs340 million have so far been recovered, while the recovery of another Rs768 million is expected.
“The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had provided us data of 895 individuals and 1,365 properties – out of which 360 people took advantage of the Tax Amnesty Scheme to declare 484 properties,” he added.
The top judge remarked that the board’s performance is very slow as it had been a year to the tax amnesty scheme.
“You have all the data; you should have taken action within hours,” he said.
Following this, the FBR official said, “157 people have still not come forward and that the FBR has written to the Dubai authority for their data,” to which Justice Nisar ordered the board to take necessary measures against the individuals.
Meanwhile, the FIA also submitted a report in the court claiming that 1,211 Pakistani citizens own 2,154 properties in the UAE.
“Another 345 people have been served notices,” the report said, adding that “61 people remain unidentified, five are deceased, 10 are uncooperative while one is absconding”.
The FIA report further stated, “413 people took advantage of the Tax Amnesty Scheme that ended in August last year, whereas 167 people declared their properties to the FBR inquiry officer.”
It was also reported that 79 people declared their properties in tax returns filed for the FBR. Moreover, 97 people disowned their properties in the UAE.
Following the proceedings, the top judge adjourned the hearing for a month.
It is pertinent to note that Justice Nisar is set to retire on January 17. After which, the bench will be reconstituted.
In Feb 2018, Justice Nisar had taken suo motu notice of foreign bank accounts held by Pakistani citizens, saying that there were reports circulating that people in positions of power have been looting money and transferring it to foreign countries.
In a hearing of the case in Dec 2018, the court had assailed the FBR chairman and an income tax official for “slowing down” the investigation and “putting the case in cold storage”.
“We were given the impression that Rs3,000 billion will be recovered,” Justice Nisar had said. “Tell us what has been the performance of the FBR?”
Earlier, FBR had submitted properties and tax details of Aleema Khan in SC Lahore registry, where an FBR official said that Aleema Khan had not taken amnesty on her Dubai flat as it was bought by taking a loan from the bank. The apartment was sold after paying off the loan, he added.