FBR streamlines anti-benami regime to stop white collar crimes

ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Wednesday issued official note to streamline Anti-Benami Regime to stop white collar crimes.

The FBR said that Benami Transactions, entailing the phenomenon of Benami moveable and immoveable properties, Bank A/Cs, Luxury Vehicles, off shore investments and stocks & shares is one of the biggest economic and financial threats, currently camouflaging the rampant corruption in our society, deadly confronting Pakistan’s taxation system and practically compromising the economic viability of the country.

Due to non existence of a special Law and Rules on Benami all Anti-corruption agencies have so far failed in tracing and documenting the real/beneficial owners and criminals went scot free.

In order to combat the menace of Benami and take the spirit of accountability forward Federal Government has operationalized Benami Transaction (Prohibition), Act, 2017, which was dormant since February, 2017.

Federal Board of Revenue has been assigned the administration and implementation of this new stream of Financial Crime Investigation & Enforcement.

This office order is aimed at streamlining of newly introduced Anti-Benami Regime in Pakistan.

I. Organizational Framework: Anti Benami Regime Pakistan.

FBR, as the parent/administering department envisages two distinct streams of functions for this White Collar Crime Investigation Agency: independent Authorities and supporting Administrative Oversight.

Both streams shall co-exist, though mutually exclusive yet complementing each other. For the legal functions, to be conducted by different Anti-Benami Authorities, their operational independence is fully protected under Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 2017.

However FBR’s administrative facilitation, financial support and organizational oversight are essential for sustainable field operations, development and strengthening of this newly launched regime.

Authorities Core Functions Support Functions
Initiating Officer (BS-18) -Initiation of Anti-Benami Proceedings

-Attachment of Benami Properties -Inquiries and Investigations

-Filing of Reference to Adjudication Authority.

-Filing of Appeals

-Enforcement of various provisions of said Act.

-Examination and Analysis of

complaints and references by

different agencies

– Development of Research &

Analysis Cells

-Data Archiving

-Services of Notices

-Litigation Management

Approving Authority (BS-20) -Highest Legal Authority at Anti-Benami Field formations

-Supervisory/Administrative authority at Benami Zones

-Granting approval of all major legal and Enforcement functions

-Inherent powers u/s 16

-Confiscation of benami properties

-Administrative and Financial head of Anti-Benami Zone

-Focal office for all correspondence with FBR and other Anti-Benami authorities

-Addressing genuine grievances and complaints

-Performance Management and Reporting

-Reposing officer in the cases of Initiating officers and Administrators

-Linkages with FBR portal and other economic & financial data bases

Administrator (BS-17) -Management of Attached properties -Management of Confiscated properties

-Possession of benami properties

-Confiscation of benami properties

-Disposal of Confiscated properties

-Ware Housing in the cases of attached/confiscated movable properties

-Intelligence & Vigilance function of benami Zones

-Spear heading all enforcement activities

-Maintenance of Discipline and motivation in field workforce

Adjudicating Authorities (BS-21/22) -Adjudication of References filed by Initiating Officers

-Inquiries and investigation

-Attachment powers

-Statutory powers to add or delete any person arrayed as accused or property labeled as benami

– Passing Confiscation Order

-Constitution of Adjudication benches

-Administration of Officers and

Employees of Adjudication Authority

-Advice to the Federal Government

on Adjudication related matters

-Development of Case Studies

-Critical References filed by Benami Zones

-Administration of justice

-Periodical Review of Law, Rules and patterns of crime

A. Authorities: Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 2017 provides detailed description and powers & functions of various authorities. FBR has already notified the jurisdiction and appointment of field authorities at Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

In addition to their statutory functions, FBR deems it necessary to assigns field Benami authorities some support functions as well.

These support functions would help in realizing the desired results of this legislation and seamless implementation of this new regime.

B. Administrative Oversight: Director General-Anti Benami Initiative (DG- ABI)

In order to facilitate the Authorities and to ensure efficient and effective implementation of Anti-Benami law the office of DG-ABI is being raised to ensure smooth and effective implementation and enforcement of Anti-Benami Act, 2017. Without any interference in their respective legal domains, this administrative structure would provide the following support to Anti-Benami Zones.

i) DG-ABI would act as FBR’s focal office for proper implementation of Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 2017. DG-ABI would act as a bridge between Anti-Benami Zones and FBR, between Zones and Adjudication Authorities and among all the Anti-Benami Zones as well.

ii) Establishment of Administrative hierarchy for the newly created Anti-benami Zones at Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

iii) Logistic Support, Financial Back up & autonomy and capacity building for Anti-Benami Zones.

iv) Development of uniform operational SOPs for transparent functioning of field authorities.

v) Contact point for all external agencies interacting with FBR in Benami related matters. Receipt, analysis and dissemination of benami related complaints, data, information and reference from all external Quarters.

vi) Development of linkages between Anti-benami authorities and FBR’s portal and external Data Bases. Central Data Bank on Benami.

vii) Quantitative Performance Evaluation of Anti-Benami Zones.

Qualitative Evaluation shall be made only after obtaining input from the concerned Adjudication Authority.

viii) Addressing all jurisdiction related issues in the light of FBR’s relevant notifications.

ix) Recommendations for review and amendments in Law, Rules and Procedure, covering Anti-Benami Regime

x) Personnel Management and Litigation

II. Directorate General-ABI: The Organizational structure

i) Directorate General-ABI would comprise a Director General, Director HQs and three Commissioners, Anti Benami Zones at Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, responsible for their notified jurisdictions.

ii) Directorate General-ABI and its formations would be manned by officers of IRS and staffed by IR Department

III. Reporting Mechanism
i) Administrators and Initiating Officers shall report to their respective Commissioners, Anti-Benami Zones.

ii) Commissioners, Anti Benami Zones would be independent in their Legal jurisdictions. For all administrative matters they will be reporting to DG-ABI Islamabad.

iii) DG-ABI would report to the National Coordinator for implementation of Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 2017.

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