Media reports on money laundering case premature: FBR chief -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Media reports on money laundering case premature: FBR chief

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: Chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Wednesday regretted that officials in his department had released incorrect and incomplete information to media.

Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, FBR chairman Tariq Pasha said that the premature flow of information was humiliating, adding that some officers had provided details to media even before any inquiry process had been initiated in the case.

The committee was discussing the issue of alleged money laundering by 2,785 individuals through gift arrangements.

While members of the committee expressed concern over the lack of progress in this regard, some senators said they had received complaints from the business community over accusations of money laundering by the FBR.

“This is a fault on our part; we want cases to be disclosed only when they are mature,” said the FBR chief, clarifying that the initial inquiry showed there was no serious malpractice or irregularity in the case of 2,785 individuals using the gift scheme.

When asked by committee chairman Senator Saleem Mandviwala if most of the accused individuals were tax filers and used banking channels for transfer of money, the official answered in the affirmative.

“Then how do money laundering charges come up?” the senator asked.

Responding to the question, the FBR chair­man admitted that the reports were flawed and the issue of money laundering was float­ed in the media to draw attention to the case.

Expressing discontent over the reports, Senator Mohsin Aziz said that not only the reputation of the business community was compromised but their businesses in foreign countries had suffered as well because of the money laundering allegation.

Senator Kamil Ali Agha was of the view it was possible that FBR officials were trying to save a certain person involved in money laundering and that was why they had accused 2,785 individuals of wrongdoing, as inquiring such a large number of people individually was almost impossible. The committee was, however, informed that inquiry was under way and its result would be shared with it.

Meanwhile, the committee was informed that a new software was developed by the FBR to determine actual data usage by telecom companies to calculate taxes.

The matter pertaining to filing of tax for telecom companies was being resolved with the help of the software, the FBR officials said.