The FIA submitted its initial report on foreign properties owned by Pakistanis as a bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard a suo motu notice of assets owned by Pakistani nationals in foreign countries.
As the hearing went under way, the bench questioned the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman, who was present in court, regarding “gray communication” and the chief justice asked him, “What steps are you taking to curb the smuggling of Indian DTH?”
The FBR chairman that responded that Customs members were to appear before court and brief regarding the measures being taken. Meanwhile, the attorney general, “Some progress has been made but more time is needed.”
Justice Nisar then remarked, “DG FIA Bashir Memon has informed us that foreign properties worth Rs1 billion have been identified. Whose responsibility is to bring the money back?”
“Of those identified, present 100 people before the court,” he directed.
“Who are those 20 people who we should summon to question how they bought these properties? We want information about assets in London, Dubai and other countries,” Justice Nisar remarked.
At this, the DG FIA told the bench, “150 people have admitted that they own foreign properties.”
The attorney general added, “There are 894 people who own foreign properties.” Justice Nisar then turned to the attorney general and said, “If there is a flaw in the system, amend it.”
Further, DG FIA Bashir Memon told the bench that 374 people have said that they have declared their foreign properties.
“150 people recorded their statements before FIA’s investigation officer. Out of them, 69 said they mentioned the properties in their tax returns while 82 said the properties did not belong to the,” he added.
The chief justice then asked Memon, “When will you conduct investigations?”
Justice Nisar further asked the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Tariq Bajwa, who was also present for the hearing, “You tell us what can be done regarding this matter. We can wrap up the case and then the government can look into it.”
Turning to the attorney general, the chief justice asked, “What is the government waiting for? We identified the people for you and bring ten prominent ones from among them before the court.”
However, the attorney general informed the bench, “They cannot be arrested as per the law.”
The SBP governor added, “150 people have admitted that they own foreign properties but have not declared them.”
“We can call 10 people from these 150,” the chief justice remarked.
SC orders that 20 people be presented before court
Justice Nisar further said, “Britain has only shared details of properties and not bank accounts.”
The court then directed FIA to present 20 people who own foreign properties before the court and adjourned the hearing till November 1.
During the hearing, the FIA submitted its initial report on foreign properties.
The report states that 35 politicians and their associates own properties in Dubai.
“The FIA initiated investigations against 3,570 Pakistanis who own properties worth Rs1,015 billion in Dubai,” the report added.
It was further stated in the report that nine benamidaars have been identified as well as 150 “extremely rich individuals who own properties worth Rs30 billion”.
“Investigation was halted against 386 persons who benefitted from the amnesty scheme. Those who owned 374 properties in Dubai benefitted from Tax Amnesty Scheme 2018,” it added.
Further, the report stated that 150 people admitted that they did not declare their foreign properties in their tax returns.
“674 people recorded their statements before FIA team and 900 Pakistanis illegally own properties in Dubai,” the report said.
The report added, “44 people who benefitted from the tax amnesty scheme face NAB cases.” It continued, “200 people disclosed their properties while recording their statements but did not benefit from the tax amnesty scheme.”
“2,500 people wanted amnesty in June last year but FBR did not agree to the terms. The authorities also recommended to the government to launch another amnesty scheme,” the report upheld.