SC urged to order FBR to ask for sources of funds from owners of offshore COs.

ISLAMABAD -- The Supreme Court of Pakistan has been urged to order the federal government and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to ask for proof from those named in Pandora and Panama Papers that sources of funds were not derived from criminal offence and how money from Pakistan was transferred to offshore companies.

Managing Director Transparency International Syed Adil Gillani on Friday filed a petition under Article 184(3) of Constitution through advocate Hashmat Habib and cited Federation through Secretary Ministry of Finance, Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Director General Federal Investigation agency (FIA), Head of Asset Recovery Unit (ARU), Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Chairman Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

The petitioner stated that on October 7 he also wrote to Prime Minister Imran Khan on this issue. He stated that in order to determine any wrongdoing, it is imperative that the FBR should ask those named in Pandora Papers and Panama Papers to provide proof that the sources of funds were not derived from criminal offence, and explain with supporting documentary evidence that how the funds were sent to offshore companies abroad.

Hashmat Habib submitted if the Pakistani citizens whose name appeared in Panama Papers and Pandora Papers are unable to satisfy and provide reasonable justification within three months about their foreign assets and that Foreign Assets (Declaration and Repatriation) Act, 2018 is not applicable on them, the FBR should freeze their accounts, confiscate their properties and initiate proceedings under Article 51/52/53/54/55/56/57/58, Chapter V (Asset Recovery) of Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative included in UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) ratified by Government of Pakistan in August 2007.

He said the FBR should also ensure that all foreign assets declared in 2018, were not derived from commission of a criminal offence, i.e Tax Evasion, Money Laundering etc.

The petition stated that when the Panama Papers were released in April 2016, various petitions were filed in the Supreme Court, which directed the SECP, SBP, FIA and FBR to investigate the matter. He regretted that the apex court proceeded against a few Pakistani citizens, while no action was taken against majority of the citizens named in the Papers. Similarly, SECP, SBP, FIA and FBR failed...

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