Oct 04, 2019: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (R) Javed Iqbal on Thursday said that cases of business community pertaining income and sales tax would be referred to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) as the tax evasions was different from money laundering.
He said that money laundering was a crime and the Supreme Court had sent a number of money laundering cases to the NAB, citing the NAB had always filed the references after thorough investigations.
Addressing traders and manufacturers at Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI) here, the Chairman said that various cases regarding Panama scandal were in progress as the NAB had set its goal to make Pakistan corruption free country, adding the NAB was a people friendly institution.
He said that action on cases of Panama had been accelerated after having record and information from foreign countries more quickly than others.
Javed Iqbal said that a committee consisted of representatives of various chambers of commerce and industry of the country had been formed to redress the issues and grievances of business community.
He dispelled impression that business community was suffering due to NAB and said that watchdog would not be a cause for disruption them in their businesses.
The business community should not worry due to NAB's actions, he maintained.
He said the NAB did not directly take action on bank default cases but the State Bank of Pakistan sent these cases to the NAB. He added the NAB had never interfered with bank default cases unless a bank referred them to the NAB, which happened when their settlement negotiations with parties in a case were unsuccessful.
Javed Iqbal said the NAB officials were performing their duties to implement the law without any pressure, influence or threat. To redress the traders' complaints, a special desk had been set up in NAB Headquarters, he said and added that special desks had also been set up in regional bureaus.
The Chairman said that during last 28 days, no complaint was registered by business community, whereas the NAB officials had been directed to redress the complaints of business community within 24 hours, adding that NAB had taken this initiative for facilitating the traders who were contributing a lot in national economy.
He stressed that NAB believed in performing its responsibilities as per the law after consultation with business community for promoting business activities in the country and said that it had not initiated any tax evasion case since October 2017, whereas no tax evasion case would be started by the NAB in future as such cases would be referred to the FBR.
He said the business community had played a vital role in the country's progress and development, adding that prosperous trader would help in putting the country on way to progress and prosperity.
The Chairman said the NAB since its inception had recovered 342 billion rupees from the corrupt elements and deposited the same into national exchequer which was a huge achievement, however, during last 22 months, Rs 71 billion had been recovered from corrupt elements.
He said the NAB respected the self respect of accused during investigation of cases, adding that NAB was investigating the cases of money laundering against those who had nothing in 1980 and now they were having properties in Dubai without any money trail.
Javed Iqbal said that action was being taken against the owners of private housing societies as they looted savings of poor people of the country. These owner nor gave the plots to the people neither returned their money, he asserted.
He said it was challenging task to investigate white collar crimes as it was difficult to trace the links behind case, while it was needed to have an agreement pertaining access to information from foreign countries.
The NAB would not spare those who looted the money of poor people, he said and added the NAB would trace them for recovering the looted money and return it to the people.
The Chairman said the NAB had no affiliation with any party, group or individual as it focused on the case not face. The NAB was investigating cases against those who ruled the country for 35 years, he said and added the NAB had never liked to overstep its jurisdiction.
He said the NAB's version and performance should also be considered and analyzed while conducting programme against it on media. The Chairman said that action against influenced mafia was continued due to which the NAB had to face criticism but the action against such mafia would remain continue without any discrimination.
Regarding plea bargain, he said that there could be no plea bargain until he gave approval for it, elaborating that initially the accused was asked to read the plea bargain application in his senses before signing it after which if the accused did not agree to the terms and conditions of plea bargain, he was sent to judicial remand instead of NAB's custody.
Later, the business community appreciated the performance of the NAB under the leadership of its Chairman Javed Iqbal and said they would continue playing their role for national prosperity and development.
NAB Lahore Director General Shehzad Saleem, SAARC Chamber of Commerce senior vice president Iftikhar Ali Malik, FPCCI senior vice president Abdur Rauf and others were also present.