Foreign assets: SBP asked to file report

Supreme Court has decided to take up matter regarding illegal foreign assets of Pakistanis who are operating accounts in foreign countries without disclosing particulars of the same and paying taxes in Pakistan. Taking suo motu notice in the matter on February 01, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had asked state institutions to provide details of siphoned off money from Pakistan to abroad through illegal channels after ill-gotten gains or kickbacks from public contracts.

Talking to Business Recorder, Deputy Attorney General Sohail Mehmood said that in pursuance of the court”s directives, chairman FBR, governor SBP, chairman SECP, DG IB, DG ISI and DG FBR have been asked to submit a report in the matter.

While taking a suo motu notice in the matter, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had said that transfer of money to abroad after kickbacks and ill-gotten gains from public contracts creates gross disproportion, inequality and disparity in society which wraps economic activity and growth and constitutes plunder and theft of national wealth.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar was of the view that society and economy of the country are being bled by illegal and surreptitious theft of national wealth, which is stashed in foreign countries, adding the same could otherwise be utilized on the welfare of the people in projects in areas such as education, health and public welfare.

A three-member bench led by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has been formed for February 15 when SBP will submit a comprehensive report in pursuance of the court”s earlier directives about the steps taken under the international agreements/ treaties/protocols to identify the citizens who hold accounts in foreign jurisdictions, including the UAE, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Spain, UK, etc, and other tax heaven jurisdictions, including the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and the Channel Islands, etc.

Earlier, the court asked SBP, FBR, SECP and the Ministry of Finance to submit a report about the steps taken, in collaboration with other state institutions, for retrieval of the said money. The FBR has to submit a report about steps taken on the basis of information available, inter alia, through the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers and the actions taken against citizens holding properties and banks accounts in foreign countries.

Supreme Court had also asked Attorney General for Pakistan and all the provincial law officers to appear before a three-remember bench of Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on February 15 in suo motu notice proceedings over maintaining of foreign accounts by Pakistani citizens without disclosing the same and paying taxes to the national kitty.