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FBR justifies not sharing JIT report with Senate Finance Committee

FBR justifies not sharing JIT report with Senate Finance Committee

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Tuesday explained reasons before the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue for not sharing the report submitted before the Joint Investigation Team about the funds transfer from Pakistan to other countries and related matters.

The JIT probed into the assets of the Sharif family abroad. In this regard, the JIT also sought assistance from the FBR. In one of the previous meetings, the Finance Committee had asked the FBR to share the said report with the committee; however, the FBR justified that Law Division had barred the tax authority from sharing the said report with panel of parliamentarians.

In this regard, the FBR told the committee that the case of providing the Joint Investigation Team’s report to the committee was referred to Law Division in the first week of current month. The reply received from Law Division was shared with the committee which stated that at present no law provides for sharing confidential information with the parliamentarians and for provision of this information, a relevant legislation is required.

The Committee after detailed discussion decided to send the response received from Law Division to Chairman Senate who will better guide the committee to take further action.

The meeting was told by Federal Board of Revenue that rules made under the Benami Act, 2017 had been sent to Law Division on 1st August and their response is awaited. Draftsman from Law Division was asked by the committee to submit their recommendations before Committee’s next meeting which is scheduled to be held on 17th August.

Regarding separation of accounts from audit controlled by the Auditor General of Pakistan, the Committee was told by Additional Secretary Establishment Division that the matter which originated from a letter of Finance Division and was followed by a summary of Prime Minister, underwent an exercise in Establishment for some time but had no further correspondence after 2015. The Committee directed all the relevant ministries and departments to sit together and work upon the possibilities in this regard.

Discussion on grants/loans to provincial governments and NGOs without involving EAD was deferred till the next meeting due to absence of the mover of this matter, Senator Sardar Fateh Muhammad Hassani. On the implementation status of Japanese Grants Fund by EAD to provincial governments, the meeting was told that Punjab and Balochistan gave full utilization reports of the money granted to them.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has an amount left of 5.6 million of which EAD has not received any details and hence the money is not released. Similarly Sindh government has an amount of Rs45 million lying for last three years.

The Committee decided to take further the correspondence between EAD and provincial governments and will write to the provincial governments for taking up the matter.

On the alleged manipulation of share price of Bank of Punjab and loss of shareholders, the Committee was given a briefing by State Bank of Pakistan and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. It was stated that the situation did not arise all of a sudden and the State Bank was in consultation process with the bank previously.