Benami Transaction Prohibition Bill should reward whistleblowers; FBR

FBR proposes reward for whistleblowers

FBR has proposed a reward for the whistleblowers in the Benami Transaction Prohibition Bill. According to the proposal, the FBR may award the whistleblower in the case of credible information leading to detection of Benami property or transaction.

According to the proposal, the FBR may sanction reward for the whistleblower in case if the credible information would lead to the detection of Benami property or transaction. But, if the whistleblower provided any information that has no apparent value,  is already in public record or appeal against confiscation of Benami property has not attained finality, then the claim on reward can be denied by the authority.

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has raised an objection that the law according to Benami Transaction Prohibition Bill is unconstitutional. It recommended that FBR should seek prior permission from a special court before calling suspected people for information, entering premises, seizing documents and conducting an investigation into Benami assets. This recommendation was then rejected by the government.

The Benami assets are those assets that in order to conceal the real ownership are held in someone else’s name. In Pakistan, Benami transactions are one of the sources of circulation and investment of black money. Benami bill was introduced in parliament to show commitment to the International Monetary Fund that the government is working towards curbing corruption in the country.

The said bill has already been endorsed by the National Assembly and is now being examined by the Senate Standing Committee on Finance. The committee has already objected to the confiscation of Benami properties under the proposed law. This may cause an inconvenience in the said purpose of the bill as the corruption has been the highlight of the year 2016. With Panama papers and parliamentarians the wrong statement of assets and liabilities in the Electric Commission, withholding the power of FBR would give rise to new

With Panama papers and parliamentarians the wrong statement of assets and liabilities in the Electric Commission, withholding the power of FBR would give rise to new scandals and more leeway to the offenders. Earlier this year FBR released Annual Tax Directories of parliamentarians and the general public as a move to create transparency but it has a very long road to go to achieve such a purpose. It is yet to be seen whether the said bill will reap any fruit.

 

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