National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal has reviewed preliminary inquiry report of 435 offshore companies owned by Pakistanis in Panama and British Virgin Islands.
In a meeting held at the NAB headquarters in Islamabad, Iqbal directed the bureau to expedite seeking of information and record from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) “sans sustaining any duress,” a NAB press release said. It added that the inquiry will be “concluded in accordance with merit and in light of law and evidence”.
The accountability bureau has been directed to get details including reasons of establishing offshore companies and their sources of income, money trail from the owners of the offshore companies of other Pakistanis at the earliest.
The NAB chairman has also directed officers to inquire whether the offshore companies were established with money transferred abroad through banking channels or money laundering. “Whether national exchequer had not been looted or caused losses through corruption,” it read.
The statement also named former chairman FBR Abdullah Yousaf as one of the persons with offshore companies.
In April 2016, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed names of influential people throughout the world, including those of Pakistan, who had secreted assets in tax havens. Over 400 Pakistanis, including politicians, businessmen, bankers, as well as judges were identified in the leaks called the Panama Papers.
The Supreme Court later heard petitions of Imran Khan, Sheikh Rashid and Sirajul Haq to disqualify then premier Nawaz Sharif, whose children also owned offshore businesses. After disqualification of Sharif, Haq again approached the apex court seeking trial of the remaining Pakistanis named in Panama Papers.
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