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Banks refuse to share account holder details with FBR

ISLAMABAD : Commercial banks have refused to share details of their account holders with the Federal Board of Revenue, which would have helped the revenue board find a trail of benami (anonymous) account holders.According to an FBR document, anti-benami zones have filed 51 references worth Rs22.8 billion in a year, a private television channel reported Saturday.  These references include valuables, commercial assets, luxury vehicles, 60,000 canal anonymous property and shares worth millions of rupees. Cases against Omni Group, PML-N leader Chaudhry Tanveer and Techno Engineering have also been included in the references. A total of 16 writ petitions, however, have been filed in the Sindh High Court against FBR anti-benami zones. Petitions have also been filed in the Lahore and Islamabad high courts. But hiring a lawyer with a fee of more than Rs200,000 has not been allowed for these zones. The responsibilities to run the zones in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore are only on one deputy commissioner in each zone. These zones are investigating 146 unnamed assets worth Rs31.2 billion. An estimated Rs100 billion anonymous transactions were uncovered based on the sugar inquiry report. Anonymous assets worth over Rs72 billion were also revealed in 13 districts of Punjab. However, these FBR zones don’t have proper staff, building, logistics. Adjudicating authorities were formed but appellate tribunals have yet to be established. FBR has proposed to establish four new zones in Hyderabad, Multan, Faisalabad and Peshawar, the document revealed.

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