The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday accused Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) of being the major hurdle in bringing $200 billion back to the country, which is lying in Swiss banks.
NAB officials maintained while briefing sub-committee of National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs on monitoring and implementation process regarding United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and steps taken so far by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the NAB.
The convenor of the committee Daniyal Aziz, during the briefing, referred to statement by former Swiss Foreign Minister that there are $200 billion lying in Swiss banks of the Pakistanis, adding the NAB and FBR need to look into the matter for bringing the money back to the country.
On his insistence, Abdul Hafeez Khan, director NAB, told the committee that the bureau cannot proceed against those who have huge amount of money in the Swiss banks, accusing the FBR as the major hurdle in bringing the money back to the country.
The committee also asked the FBR and the NAB to explore the legal perspective to co-ordinate with each other in the matters involving double taxation treaties of Pakistan with other countries.
Aziz said that Pakistan has rectified the double taxation treaties with more than 100 countries, adding the Foreign Office, FBR and the NAB should coordinate with each other to strengthen the existing laws with a view to check corruption and tax evasion.
“Bureaucrats and former military officials are involved in massive corruption scandals but only politicians are held accountable but no body talks about the looted money by others…some media anchors who pretend to be the judge while talking about politicians but are silent on the others”, he said.
On the committee insistence, the NAB officials said that no application has so far been moved in the bureau regarding the Panama papers, adding the NAB cannot legally proceed on the cases, based on the leaks and having no evidence.
“This is strange that no one has so far submitted any application in the NAB as far the Panama leaks are concerned”, said Daniyal Aziz, who can bee seen among those PML-N leaders, responding to the critics on Panama controversy which also involves Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children.
Endorsing the point of view of Daniyal Aziz, committee member Naeema Kishwar Khan who represents JUI-F, a coalition partner of the PML-N, said that it was inappropriate to target only the children of the Prime Minister on the pretext of Panama leaks.
“A whole family from Khyber Pakhtunkhawa has been named in Panama papers, but nobody is talking about them. If you want accountability, then it should be across the board”, she said in an apparent reference to Saifullah family.
The committee convenor also asked the NAB and FBR to jointly work on the draft of legislation so that all those government officials working in foreign missions and the institutions within the country should come under accountability process.
When asked about the update on the cases against PPP leader Dr Asim Hussain, the NAB officials told the committee that the bureau has already filed a reference which included the favours given to certain individuals and entities during his tenure.
The NAB officials also informed the committee the bureau has also obtained information from Malaysia and UAE in three corruption cases involving huge money while information is also being sought from 110 countries in corruption cases, in which majority cases are against the businessmen.