SBP briefs SC on steps for recovery of undisclosed foreign assets held by overseas Pakistanis3 min read

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The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has submitted the terms of reference (ToR) for the assets’ recovery before the Supreme Court.

The terms were filed by a standing committee — initially constitutedby the Chief Justice of Pakistan as a three-member committee — on Saturday in a suo motu hearing of the case regarding undisclosed foreign assets held abroad by Pakistani citizens.

The committee constituted to take appropriate action for the recovery of the undisclosed foreign assets comprises the following:

  1. Governor, State Bank of Pakistan
  2. Secretary Finance, Government of Pakistan
  3. Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Government of Pakistan
  4. Chairman, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR)
  5. Deputy Chairman, National Accountability Bureau (NAB)
  6. Director General, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)
  7. Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP)
  8. A representative of Intelligence Bureau (IB)
  9. A representative of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA)
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The committee can co-opt any other member, as it deems appropriate.

According to the ToR, a copy of which is with Dawn.com, the committee will initially proceed based on information available with the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) about assets of Pakistani citizens in UAE. It will also review the information available with the FBR regarding assets of Pakistani citizens in the UK.

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The committee will submit a monthly progress report to the SC starting from the end of September, 2018. It has decided to constitute a joint task force (JTF) consisting of representatives of the FIA, FBR, NAB and other such agencies.

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 legislations, 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].

(This news/article originally appeared in DAWN on September 2nd, 2018)

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