August 24, 2019
Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered all deputy commissioners and heads of development authorities to identify benami properties within their jurisdictions in a month, a notice issued by the Prime Minister’s Office on Friday said.
“The prime minister in a meeting held on August 20 on benami properties stressed upon the implementation of the Benami Act, 2019 in order to harvest its true potential in the national and global contexts,” read the notice, which was issued to all provincial chief secretaries.
“The deputy commissioners, being collectors and custodians of the land record have a key role in collection of property records,” added the notice.
According to the notice, heads of development authorities throughout the provinces may also be directed to identify such properties through their own records and monitoring mechanisms.
The notice directed all deputy commissioners and heads of development authorities across the country to furnish a certificate at the end of their exercise verifying that no benami properties exist within their jurisdictions apart from the ones identified.
The notice warns that if a benami property is discovered at a later stage, the concerned deputy commissioner or head of development authority “may be liable to proceedings under relevant provisions of the Benami Act”.
It directs that a complete report on the matter be submitted to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman with a copy sent to the PM Office by September 30.
The term benami refers to the practice of holding property/assets in the name of one person for the benefit of another. However, benami is often aimed at concealing ownership of assets acquired through illegal means, defrauding creditors, and/or evading payments of government fees, charges or taxes.
In July, the FBR had initiated proceedingsagainst citizens who failed to declare their benami properties under the Assets Declarations Scheme, which expired on July 3.