A formal investigation by the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Zone I Islamabad has been initiated against a company having 125,000 Kanals Land and 7 bank accounts registered thereon. Market value of the Benami assets that have been identified and provisionally attached so far is around Rs. 15 to Rs. 20 billion.
As per the official documents; Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Zone has issued a show cause notice to the beneficiary owner on Tuesday. Owner is a well known company based in Islamabad and has international branches. Notice is basically an order for provisional attachment of assets. As per rules, properties cannot be transferred and no benefits can be obtained from those during the attachment.
“The company has links with a high profile politician based in Lahore”, says a tax official
A tax official briefed the reporter that the company has links with a high profile politician based in Lahore. He said “We don’t want to disclose his name before completion of investigation”.
The investigation will be completed by the anti-Benami zone under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 2017, within 90 days after the issuance of show-cause notice for attachment of assets. A reference will be filed under the Benami Act after the investigation before an adjudicating authority. The authority will complete the proceedings within one month.
The case has been reported by the Commissioner Rawalpindi as part of PM initiative for all Deputy Commoners for reporting Benami Assets in their respective areas.
The commissioner reported that recently large pieces of landholding have been registered in the name of Benamidar M/s S.A.S Pvt Ltd. Initial investigations revealed that during the past 3 months millions of tax evasion has been detected.
Further investigation reveal that the owners of the Benami assets obtained illegal financial benefits amounting Rs. 13 billion. Subsequently, a case was filed with the NAB (National Accountability Bureau) & resultantly Rs. 1.9 billions was recovered from them.
Further, the beneficiary owners (Benamidar) have made a plea bargain of Rs. 771 million & the remaining amount due to them within the same period in which the Benami assets have been acquired in the name of Benamidar.
In case of provision of evidence by the beneficiary owner about the properties, Anti Benami Authorities will de attach the properties
The document says that, the Benamidar company holding about 125,000 kanals of land is a shell company. In violation of the regulations of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan & The Companies Act 2017, the owner had invested and held assets in the name of Benamidar company without any share capital, loan and authorized share capital in the Benamidar company.
The tax official says that, despite the issuance of several summons, the beneficiary company owner and the director of Benamidar company did not provide any record of the assets.
In case the non provision of record and evidence about the Benami property in question continues FBR (Federal Board of Revenue) will seize the property & the adjudicating authority can send the people in whose names property are registered to jail for seven years.
The directorate general of Anti Benami Initiative (ABI) was established by the government on 1st July 2019 for dealing the benami assets. Federal Board of Revenue has also set up anti benami zones to file the references with the concerned authority.