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Property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain shown exiting Supreme Court. - File Photo
Property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain shown exiting Supreme Court. - File Photo

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari dismissed the report submitted by the Suddle Commission in the Arsalan Iftikhar case, and has given property magnate Malik Riaz Hussain a clean chit in a suspected tax evasion of Rs 119.4 billion, according to a Daily Times report by the Daily Times Monitor.

The president accepted Malik Riaz’s representation, and dismissed the much questioned December 4, 2012 decision made by the federal tax ombudsman (FTO), the Monitor stated in its article citing reports containing references to official Presidency documents.

The Suddle Commission had been formed by the Supreme Court in order to probe an alleged Rs 342 million business deal between Malik Riaz and the son of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar.

The commission had incriminated Malik Riaz in a colossal tax evasion that amounted to Rs 119.4 billion, and proposed that a penalty for concealment of assets in wealth statements filed with income tax returns be enforced on the property tycoon in its interim results.

The documents cited by the Daily Times Monitor also stated that a joint representation questioning a suo motu order passed by the FTO had been filed by Malik Riaz and the principal officer of Bahria Town (Pvt.) Ltd, under Section 14(I) of the Federal Ombudsman Institutional Reform Act 2013. This was concurrently corroborated by the presidential order, which suggested that the representation had indeed been filed.

The notice and the representation explained that the suo motu case concerning an alleged business deal between Malik Riaz and Dr Arsalan Iftikhar – an attempt to influence the judicial process – was disposed of by the Supreme Court on June 14, 2012, and the attorney general of Pakistan was subsequently directed to set the state machinery in motion in order to ensure that “all those who may have committed any illegal acts, including Malik Riaz, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar and Salman Ali Khan, are pursued and brought to book with full force and rigour of the law”.

The attorney general wrote to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman regarding the matter on June 18, 2012. Subsequently, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar filed CRP No 167/2012, which was allowed by the apex court on August 30, 2012. The FTO was appointed as a one-man commission, who was expected to hold an inquiry into the matter.

According to the documents, the commission had submitted three interim reports. After the third report was received, it was noted that it was no longer necessary for the commission to proceed further in the inquiry, and the matter was therefore disposed of.

According to the FTO Ordinance of 2000, the FTO’s responsibility is to identify, examine, compensate and correct any injustice done to a person through the maladministration by functionaries that oversee the laws of taxation. Referring to the law, the main objection raised in the representation was that the federal tax ombudsman did not have any authority to commence suo motu proceedings and issue notices to the petitioners.

The Presidency’s letter further argued that the term maladministration has been defined in Section 2(3) of the afore-mentioned ordinance, while Section 9(1) gives the tax ombudsman the authority to investigate any charges of maladministration on the part of the Revenue Division or any tax employee, and this he can inter alia do on his own motion.

When the Law and Justice Division sought the FTO’s comments, the FTO Secretariat reported on March 16, 2013 that the proceedings had only been taken against the maladministration committed by the FBR, adding the board would be responsible for taking any action prescribed by the Income Tax Ordinance 2001.

Section 32 of FTO Ordinance, 2000 states, “The Revenue Division or any person aggrieved by a recommendation of the federal tax ombudsman may, within thirty days of the recommendation, make a representation to the president who may pass such order thereon as he may deem fit.”

Formerly, the petitioners had filed an application that challenged the said order, with the FTO issuing a subsequent notice. The Law and Justice Division dealt with the matter, thus arriving at the conclusion that the action was ultra vires and void.

“The representation, therefore, is competent at this stage... This secretariat agreed with the said conclusion,” the report affirmed, referring to the Presidency documents.

“It appears that the FTO has taken upon himself to continue with the proceedings conducted as a one-man commission, which is beyond the ambit of the FTO Ordinance 2000,” the letter stated. “The proceedings initiated and the notice issued, therefore, is without jurisdiction. The FTO Secretariat has not filed any comments despite notice. In its response to the earlier petition, the FTO Secretariat had given out that the case is only against maladministration of the FBR... Accordingly, the president has been pleased to accept representation and to set aside impugned decision of FTO commencing proceeding against the petitioners on the basis of third interim report.”

Comments (23) Closed

A. Khan Jul 22, 2013 02:03pm

This country is more screwed up than I thought. Why is the president issuing these decrees ? Its the executives job to run the country not the presidents. And more importantly, how many billions were partaken to arrive at this decision ?

KHALID Jul 22, 2013 02:30pm

When Zardari is involved there should be no surprises if something criminal occurs

Bhutto zinda hai ;-)

Kashif Jul 22, 2013 02:43pm

Once again corruption prevailed, another gift of Zardari to this nation.

Lala Jee Jul 22, 2013 03:10pm

Disgusting and sickening

Tariq Jul 22, 2013 03:14pm

Did we really expect anything would come out in this case? Of course not! "They" are only looking after their own interests'. But by commissioning a one man "fact finding" report it gives the whole episode a more face saving aura to the whole dirty dealing debacle!

Guest63 Jul 22, 2013 03:46pm

What a payback to Malik Riaz by the so called " friend of the friend" , in return for getting the freebie of Gorgeously spaciously and extra ordinary costly " Bilawal house in Lahore " , so AAZ being a true friend of friends , Pays back to Malik Riaz with this clean chit and let off the hook .

No wonder , "taking along every body in the process of democracy is the best revenge " shows us the true color of AAZ . A master planner and executioner on how to get benefits for himself and his cronies .

Rosh Jul 22, 2013 04:55pm

when a president gets a house in gift he pays this much in return.

jamki Jul 22, 2013 04:56pm

does any body know what was the verdict about Arsalan Iftikhar having 900 karor rupees in his account? how he got it?

Sandip Jul 22, 2013 05:34pm

With Billion dollars outstanding in taxes, Pakistan does have a Billionaire.

See its not about all being poor. It a good billion dollar story to be proud off.

Mohiuddin Dehlavi Jul 22, 2013 05:35pm

The houes in Lahore to Zardari paid off. Now all thrree should be tried, Zardari, Riaz and Arsalan.

desida Jul 22, 2013 05:42pm

ONLY is Pakistan corrupted and influational people rules that nation. NO JUSTICE because no one has guts to give justice.

conflicted Jul 22, 2013 05:59pm

Sickening!!! Who colluded with who and to let of whom -- it's murky and nauseating.

aslam minhas Jul 22, 2013 06:28pm

This man is a by-product of Pindi. For a pittance here and a pittance there, he was allotted acres of government land all over Pakistan by those who also manage the DHA. Even he was allowed the title of 'Behria Town' to be exploited commercially. Now the DHA in the dock over the EOBI scam, out of 22 billions DHA gobbled, it spat 11 out to BT as per the SC records. DHA accounts are seized and rightly so. It will affect adversly 'creme de la creme' of the society, the same segment that is holding 95% of the population as hostage to its greed and plunder. All civil-politico-military organisations have over the years plunged the 95% of people into penury and starvation. Add to that the alleged 5 billion castle in Lahore gifted by Malik Riaz to the president. The president's 'clean-chitting him' is understandable; may be after September, Malik Riaz will feel hot under the collar. But collar them we must before it is too late. In the same vein, may I remind the president that his old 'buddy' hotel tycoon is coming back to Pakistan after 5 years as he never felt safe in he country owing to the fact that he was asked to gift his hotel away? Some even say it was bombed after he refused to comply! Hamid Mir will spill the beans if pressed in the national interest. This president will be remembered long for all the wrong reasons!

Yawar Jul 22, 2013 07:10pm

Everyone, from Malik Riaz to Arsalan Iftikhar to a middle income person, should be accountable for money made at the expense of the masses.

Riaz Jul 22, 2013 07:31pm

What else can be expected of Mr. Zardari? He is leaving office soon, so why not just pardon his friends (or I should say investors/bribers) before he leaves? I am sure Mr. Zardari must have gotten more than 80% of the tax evasion that Mr. Malik Riaz Hussain did! Weldone Mr. Zardari!

Guest 27 Jul 23, 2013 02:34pm

If Bhutto remains alive a little more, than we all will read about Pakistan in the history books.

AKNasser Jul 23, 2013 03:07pm

As an outsider looking from vintage point in US, I marvel at the state of affairs in Pakistan. Man does not pay billions of rupees tax and government rushes to IMF for bail out !

IBN-E-ASHFAQUE Jul 23, 2013 03:33pm

Zardari, Malik Riaz and Arsalan are birds of the same feather.

syed wasim haider Jul 23, 2013 04:31pm

@conflicted: The son of chief Justice is involved so how can u expect something fair

M. I. Asghar Jul 23, 2013 04:42pm

There is no tax evasion in Pakistan! Has anyone ever been convicted of massive tax evasion? How can anyone think that these big tycoons do not pay their taxes, their electricity and telephone bills; all conspiracies against these true blue Pakistanis. Good luck improving conditions in Pakistan!

Hasan Jul 23, 2013 06:17pm

Malik Riaz is perhaps the flag bearer of the tax evaders. The list is very long - tens of millions of businessmen, landlords, politicians, traders, industrialists, religious leaders and other small business owners (including shop owners) have been evading taxes forever. How much INCOME TAX Sharifs, Zardari, Dar, Chaudhrys, Hina Rabbani Khar, Hafeez Sheikh pay? Out of 180 million population only 2.2 million pay tax! Some one suggested Malik Riaz might be in trouble after Zardari is gone - Malik Riaz is as close to Zardari as he is to Sharif family!

A Pakistani Jul 23, 2013 07:31pm

Will new government take notice of it and bring every one involved to justice? Or they will follow policy of Ch. Shujaat "Mitti Pao" and NRO in return to get the same favours from coming government when these are gone and Pakistan will go further down at the end of their term of government.

aditya Jul 25, 2013 03:00am

One for my master One for the judge Freedom for the man who lives in a mansion.