Shocking revelation: 63 firms laundered Rs69 billion with help of five top banks

money laundering

ISLAMABAD: In a shocking revelation, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) officials told the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue that 63 companies laundered approximately Rs69 billion from the country with the assistance of five top banks in the country.

The Senate committee meting, chaired by Senator Saleem Mandviwala, directed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to furnish details of penalties imposed on banks involved in money laundering.

During the committee meeting held on Wednesday, officials of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) shared findings related to money laundering by solar panel importers and the involvement of banks in assistaing them launder money from the country.

The FBR officials informed the committee that an investigation revealed approximately Rs69 billion had been laundered by 63 companies with the assistance of five reputed banks in the country.

FBR officials stated that FIRs have been registered against the individuals under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, and the cases are pending before the courts.

The committee instructed the SBP to provide details of the punitive measures taken against the banks involved in money laundering.

Additionally, the committee addressed the issue of non-payment of salaries to daily-wage teachers in Islamabad schools under the Federal Directorate of Education. Rabia Waheed, an affected teacher, told the committee that the Accountant General Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) has not been disbursing salaries despite having an allocated budget.

Importers launder billions in lieu of solar panels trade: FBR

AGPR officials cited delays due to the non-issuance of the ‘new payment wages’ notification, by the authorities concerned. Senator Saleem Mandviwalla lamented for the delay and directed AGPR officials to promptly pay the wages.

The committee also discussed the compensation appeal from the family of ex-vice-president of ZTBL, the late Rab Nawaz. The ZTBL president informed the committee that the family was demanding Rs4.9 million in benefits.

He said that late Rab Nawaz was involved in fraud and forgery cases, with the bank having claims of 5.9 million rupees against him. The committee directed ZTBL to submit details at the next meeting.

Furthermore, the committee received a briefing from the FBR on the tax structure and the total number of taxpayers in the country.

The FBR chairman reported approximately 11,763,546 taxpayers, including 11,408,166 sales tax payers and 355,380 income tax payers.

He said that direct taxes and indirect taxes contributed 46% and 54%, respectively, to the total tax during the financial year 2022-23. The committee urged the FBR to develop an effective mechanism to expand the tax net.

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