SHC orders NAB to file SESSI reference

Court revokes govt decision to declare income support levy as tax


Our Correspondent July 03, 2020
PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI:

The Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered on Thursday the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file a reference against the accused in the Sindh Employees' Social Security Institution (SESSI) corruption case by September 24.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice Omar Sial and Justice Zulfiqar Ali Sangi, was hearing the bail pleas of the accused.

The investigation officer said the investigation against the accused had been completed and a report sent to the head office for filing a reference. He explained that the NAB headquarters had raised some objections, adding that the objections had been resolved. He sought time from the court to receive the final reply from the head office.

The court ordered the NAB officials to file the reference by September 24.

According to NAB, the accused had committed corruption of Rs700 million in SESSI.

Income support levy

The SHC revoked the government's decision to declare the income support levy as a tax.

The same bench read the verdict reserved by the two-member bench comprising Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi and Justice Muhammad Junaid Ghaffar on more than 500 petitions filed against the levy.

Besides declaring the government's decision void, the court also declared it illegal to enforce the levy through the Finance Act, 2013. Moreover, the court announced all the notices sent for the recovery of the levy as illegal.

The filed petitions had pointed out that the owners of movable assets of more than Rs1 million would pay a levy of 0.5 per cent at the end of the fiscal year in the Finance Bill, 2013.

Petition to demolish building

Meanwhile, the SHC refused to hear a petition to demolish a dilapidated building in Karachi, directing the petitioner to file the plea to another bench.

The petitioner stated that a part of the building had collapsed in a fire in 2013, requesting the court to issue orders to evacuate it since lives could be lost if it caved in.

He added that the Sindh Building Control Authority had also given orders to evacuate the building, but the shopkeepers had sought a stay order for its demolition. He prayed the court to revoke the stay order.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2020.

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