FBR claims recovery of Rs167m from Pakistanis owning foreign assets

FBR chief tells apex court notices have been issued for recovery of additional Rs147m

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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Monday informed the Supreme Court (SC) that it has recovered Rs167 million from Pakistani citizens holding undisclosed foreign bank accounts and assets abroad, while Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khan is yet to pay Rs29.4m in taxes and fines pertaining to her assets in UAE.

FBR Chairman Jahanzeb Khan made the claim while briefing a three-member SC bench on progress in the case so far.

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,” said Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar. “Tell us what has been the performance of the FBR?”

“What happened of the 21 model cases that were identified?” asked Justice Ijazul Ahsan.

“Rs167m have been recovered so far, whereas notices for the recovery of [another] Rs147m have been sent,” the FBR head answered.

The FBR chief further said that of the total recovered amount, Rs100m came from Agha Afzal, while Imtiaz Afzal paid Rs10m. “Further investigation is underway,” he added.

The top judge remarked that “the sooner the money came to its origin, the better it was for the economy”.

Justice Nisar also remarked that the “court is entrusting the bureau with the responsibility to bring looted wealth back to Pakistan”.

When the chief justice asked about the Rs29.4m that PM Imran’s sister Aleema Khan is to pay in taxes and fines, the FBR chairman replied: “She has until January 13 to pay.”

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.‎

Meanwhile, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted in court another report, saying that it had identified another 96 individuals who have properties in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“[In all], 1,211 Pakistanis have properties in the UAE,” according to the progress report. “[Of this], 774 have submitted their affidavits, while 363 have been issued notices.”

The FIA report further said that 60 people could not be identified, 57 are not cooperating with the probe, and one is absconding.

The agency, in the report, claimed that 60 Pakistanis have understated their properties to the FBR.

Subsequently, the hearing was adjourned till January 14.

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