SC orders Aleema Khanum to pay Rs29.4m as fine, tax on foreign properties

Updated December 13, 2018

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Aleema Khanum appears in the Supreme Court on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV
Aleema Khanum appears in the Supreme Court on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered Aleema Khanum, Prime Minister Imran Khan's sister, to pay Rs29.4 million in taxes and fines.

A three-judge SC bench, while hearing a case against 44 politically exposed individuals or their benamidars who possess properties in the United Arab Emirates, remarked that failure on Khanum's part to oblige to court orders will result in confiscation of her properties.

In today's hearing, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) told the court that a fine and tax worth Rs29.4m has been placed on Khanum, who has been identified as benamidar of a property.

Khanum, who was present in court today, took the stand and said that she had bought the property abroad in 2008 against $370,000 and that she had sold the said property in 2017.

Khanum told the court that she had raised 50 per cent of the amount required by taking a loan.

According to Khanum's written testimony submitted to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), she owned properties in East UAE. The properties were created through the earnings of businesses owned abroad.

"I sold my properties and the FBR was notified about this development in advance," Khanum said in her written testimony.

During the hearing, the FIA submitted a summary regarding foreign properties in court.

According to the summary, 96 more Pakistanis have been identified for having properties abroad. The total number of Pakistanis with properties abroad is now 2,154. Out of these, 1,208 people own properties in the UAE.

At least 21 Pakistanis that own these properties have been sent notices in accordance with the court's orders, the summary said and at least Rs45m have been recovered from these people.

This case is the result of a list of politically exposed people which was submitted as part of an annexure to a three-judge SC bench comprising Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.

Taking suo motu notice of the matter, the apex court had observed that it appeared the money siphoned off abroad without payment of taxes through illegal channels represented either ill-gotten gains or kickbacks from public contracts.

“Such money creates gross disproportion, inequality and disparity in society, which warps economic activity and growth, and constitutes plunder and theft of national wealth,” it had said.

In an earlier order, the court had also observed that it was common knowledge for years that a large number of Pakistani citizens were maintaining their bank accounts in other countries without disclosing these to the authorities competent under the laws of Pakistan or paying taxes on the same in accordance with the law.