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SECP conducting probe into alleged BoP share manipulation

SECP conducting probe into alleged BoP share manipulation

ISLAMABAD: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Wednesday informed the Senate Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs that it had started probe into case of alleged manipulation of share prices of Bank of Punjab (BoP) through underwriting.

The Senate Committee was chaired by Senator Saleem Mandviwalla while among others, it was attended by senators Muhammad Mohsin Khan Leghari, Ayesha Raza Farooq, Kamil Ali Agha, Saud Majeed, Osman Saifullah and Mohsin Aziz as well as representatives of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), SECP, BoP and other stakeholders.

The SECP representatives informed the committee that the commission would submit a detailed report to this body after conducting investigations into the matter.

However they did not give any timeline for submission of the report on the plea that the commission have to go into details to check whether there was any manipulation of shares or not.  As many as ten thousand individual and institutions have traded shares since May 2016 to March 2017, the period during which the alleged share manipulation took place, so the commission would take time to investigate.

Had it been just violation of law, it would have been done easily and within a short period of time, they observed.

The SECP representatives also informed the senate body that as many as 134 employees of BoP were engaged in share business of the bank, out of which some earned profit, some loss while others did not sold their shares.

The SECP representative said that the complainants, who had been alleging share manipulation in BoP, would be given full chance to come to SECP and provide record of any misdeed, if any.

On the issue of alleged money laundering through gift arrangements, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) informed the committee that it was routine practice of the board to examine different cases for tax evasion. However, this does not mean that all such cases were related to money laundering.

The Chairman FBR clarified that 2785 gift arrangement cases were being investigated under income tax act, adding in case there is any proof of tax evasion through this scheme it would be dealt under Anti-Money Laundering Act (AML).

However, on the advice of the committee to issue notice under AML Act only after the approval of Chairman of the board, the FBR said that the powers of issuing such notices should be delegated with Member Operations FBR.

Meanwhile, on the issue of import of solar power generator system, the committee decided to call the Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) and Engineering Development Board (EDB) to come to next meeting and clarify the issues relate to duty on solar power generator imports.

The stakeholders had requested the committee that their container was not being cleared by Customs Authorities as they seek NOC from EDB.

Earlier, while discussing the refund cases, it was decided that the individuals having such complaints would meet FBR officials for resolution of their grievances.