ISLAMABAD - The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been assigned the administration and implementation of the new stream of financial crime investigation and enforcement under Benami Transaction (Prohibition), Act, 2017.

The FBR has issued office order of establishment of Directorate General-Anti Benami Initiative. Benami Transactions, entailing the phenomenon of Benami moveable and immoveable properties, bank accounts, luxury vehicles, off shore investments and stocks and shares is one of the biggest economic and financial threats, currently camouflaging the rampant corruption in our society, deadly confronting Pakistan’s taxation system and practically compromising the economic viability of the country.

According to the FBR, due to non existence of a special Law and Rules on Benami all Anti-corruption agencies have so far failed in tracing and documenting the real/beneficial owners and criminals went scot free. “In order to combat the menace of Benami and take the spirit of accountability forward federal government has operationalized Benami Transaction (Prohibition), Act, 2017, which was dormant since February, 2017. Federal Board of Revenue has been assigned the administration and implementation of this new stream of Financial Crime Investigation & Enforcement. This office order is aimed at streamlining of newly introduced Anti-Benami Regime in Pakistan,” the office order of the FBR stated.

FBR, as the parent/administering department envisages two distinct streams of functions for this White Collar Crime Investigation Agency: independent Authorities and supporting Administrative Oversight. Both streams shall co-exist, though mutually exclusive yet complementing each other. For the legal functions, to be conducted by different Anti-Benami Authorities, their operational independence is fully protected under Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 2017. However FBR’s administrative facilitation, financial support and organizational oversight are essential for sustainable field operations, development and strengthening of this newly launched regime.

Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 2017 provides detailed description and powers & functions of various authorities. FBR has already notified the jurisdiction and appointment of field authorities at Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. In addition to their statutory functions, FBR deems it necessary to assigns field Benami authorities some support functions as well. These support functions would help in realizing the desired results of this legislation and seamless implementation of this new regime.