Friday, 30 December 2016

Pakistan Senate panel approves Benami Transactions Prohibition Bill

Pakistan Senate panel approves Benami Transactions Prohibition Bill Islamabad, Dec. 30: An opposition-dominated Pakistan Senate panel has approved the Benami Transactions Prohibition Bill while withdrawing all objections, particularly to the proposal of confiscation of property.  The Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue passed the bill, which after approval of the upper house
of the Parliament would allow authorities to take effective punitive action against those who keep their assets in the name of others to hide their sources of income to evade taxes. After enactment of the law, it will be difficult for everyone, even the prime minister, to keep assets in the name of third parties, reports the Express Tribune.  Anybody found guilty of keeping Benami assets will face confiscation of property, rigorous imprisonment of up to seven years and a fine equal to 25 percent of fair market value of the property.  The National Assembly has already approved the bill.  Earlier, the committee had declared that it would not approve the bill in its present shape and its major objection was pertaining to the clauses of property confiscation and powers to enter any premises and seize documents.  The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) also had almost similar objections, which the committee overruled.  It had presented the bill in the Parliament as part of a commitment to the International Monetary Fund in order to curb this practice.  The standing committee also withdrew its proposal of binding the government to implement the law within two months of its enactment. It accepted the government’s proposal that the law will come into force on such date as the federal government may decide by notification in the official Gazette.

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