SC tells FBR chief to file statement by March 1
ISLAMABAD: Hearing a suo motu case involving payment of compensation to the victims of Iraq-Kuwait war, a two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain on Thursday issued notices to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman to file a statement by March 1 that whether an amount of Rs 38.74 million, deducted as income tax, had been reimbursed to the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) or not.
Earlier, the court had directed the Habib Bank Limited (HBL) to submit complete record, indicating how much amount of victims compensation it (HBL) had deducted as service charges and how much as share and what would be the profit on the amount which was withheld by it. The court had given this direction to the HBL after National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials had informed it that the bank withheld $892,206.9 of the affectees’ compensation amount as service charges.
On Thursday, Lt Col (r) Muhammad Niaz, case officer of NAB, told the court that on May 23, 2011, a request was made to the HBL for supply of the documents pertaining to investment instructions of OPF for placing of funds in HBL, monthly and annually closing affairs in respect of the amounts deposited in Pak rupees or in foreign currency of the Kuwait victims for the period commencing from 1997 to 2005, Profit Credit Advice of HBL relating to the accounts maintained by OPF for the same period, copy of Annual General Ledger in respect of the amounts so deposited, processed or transacted, income and expense ledgers charged on the accounts of Kuwait victims with effect from 1997 to 2005, IBCO Net Profit of the funds received for disbursement amongst the affectees for the period from 1997 to 2005 a copy of the instructions of State Bank of Pakistan for maintaining Performa accounts outside the country. He said the details of shadow amount could not be maintained out of the funds of Kuwait victims in terms of the instructions, issued by the central bank. The court directed Anwar Mansoor Khan, counsel for HBL, to supply the required documents to the NAB’s case officer. The court directed the OPF to furnish the statements of accounts indicating the expenditure incurred while disbursing the amounts received from United Nations for Kuwait victims till today and the interest amount earned on the same with the markup rate, as per schedule.
Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, counsel for OPF, under instructions of OPF Managing Director, filed a statement with the request that permission may be accorded to him to make distribution of the noted amounts, as admittedly the amount of interest belonged to the persons to whom the claims had already been paid, therefore, under the law they were entitled to receive the markup on the amounts as well.
According to his statement on OPF instructions, an amount of Rs 711.9 was available with OPF for disbursement to 27,891 claimants of Iraq-Kuwait war, who were paid compensation approved and determined by the United Nations Compensation Commission, and who submitted their claims for payment of interest to OPF within the deadline of May 21, 2010. He said this amount would be disbursed on pro-rata basis and a statement would be filed before the court. The court granted him permission, directing that this exercise would be completed within two weeks.
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