Government to give FBR civil court powers under ‘Benami Transaction Act 2016’

KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) shall, for the purpose of ‘Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act’, 2016 have the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908, according to the copy of the draft of the act available with

The ‘Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act’, 2016 proposes that any person who enters into a benami transaction in order to defeat the provisions of any law or to avoid payment of statutory dues or to avoid payment to creditors, the beneficial owner, benamidar and any other person who abets or induces any person to enter into the benami transaction, shall be guilty of the offence of Benami transaction and the guilty of the offence of benami transaction referred to in sub-section(l)shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to twenty-five per cent of the fair market value of the property.

Moreover, any person who is required to furnish information under this Act knowingly gives false information to any authority or furnishes any false document in any proceeding under this Act, shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to ten percent of the fair market value of the property.

Under this act, the authority will have the powers of discovery and inspection; enforcing the attendance of any person; compelling the production of books of accounts and other documents; issuing commissions; receiving evidence on affidavits; and any other matter which may be prescribed.

According to the copy of the bill, any authority or Chairperson or Member of the Appellate Tribunal under this Act shall have power to require any officer of the Federal Government or Provincial Government or a local body or an authority or any person or officer who is responsible for registering any property or maintaining books of accounts or other documents containing a record of any transaction relating to any property or any other person to furnish any information in relation to any person, point or matter as in his opinion shall be useful for or relevant for the purpose of this Act.

In order to enforce any provision of this Act, any Authority defined under this Act shall at ail times and without prior notice, have full and flee access to any premises, place, accounts, documents or computer. The FBR has proposed power to the authority to impound documents where any books of accounts or other documents are produced before any authority in any proceedings under this Act or the accounts, books of documents or computer are accessed while exercising powers under section 19.

After an order of confiscation has been made under sub-section (I), all the rights and title in such property shall vest absolutely in the Federal Government free of all encumbrances and no compensation shall be payable in respect of such confiscation, the draft added.

Under this act, no civil court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceeding in respect of any matter which any of the authorities, or the Tribunal is empowered by or under this Act to determine, and no injunction shall be granted by any court or other forum in respect of any action taken or to be taken in pursuance of any power conferred by or under this Act, 47. However, any party aggrieved by any decision or order of the Appellate Tribunal may file an appeal to the High Court within a period of sixty days from the date of service of the decision or order of the Tribunal to him on any question of law arising out of such order.

Every officer of Inland Revenue Service, Customs, Anti Narcotic Force, Provincial Excise and Taxation Department, District Coordinating Officer, District Officer Revenue, recognized Stock Exchange, State Bank of Pakistan, Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan, officers of any body corporate constituted by or established under any law, banking companies, Central Depository Company, National Clearing Company of Pakistan Ltd, Police and Civil Armed Forces are required to assist the Authorities and Chairperson Members Of the Tribunal in discharge of their functions under this Act.

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