Sarina Isa moves NAB for action against law minister, others

Sarina claims the law minister broke the law to protect himself from criminal prosecution

Hasnaat Maik January 19, 2022
Sarena Isa. PHOTO: FILE


Sarina Isa, the wife of Justice Qazi Faez Isa, approached the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday for initiating action against Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem, the former attorney general of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan, Advisor to PM Mirza Shahzad Akbar and other senior officials of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

In a letter to the chairman and the NAB prosecutor general, Sarina claimed that the law minister broke the law to protect himself from criminal prosecution and that he tailored an amendment to the income tax law.

"Section 216 of the Income Tax Ordinance states that tax records ‘shall be confidential’ and if these are accessed (other than by income tax officers) anyone doing so commits a criminal offence. Gentlemen, when you accessed my tax records you broke the law. In my review application submitted to the Supreme Court, I protested against this violation of the law and requested that action be taken. My review was accepted; detailed reasons are awaited. Apprehending that your careers would end and you would face criminal prosecution you proposed an amendment to the existing law", the letter stated.

Sarina, while addressing the law minister, claimed that he dishonestly drafted the Finance (Supplementary) Bill by adding an exception to section 216 to protect him from prosecution for violating the confidentiality of her tax records, and did so when the detailed judgment of her review was awaited.

“Is this not contempt of court? The fact that you have inserted the amendment and state that it ‘shall always be deemed to have been so added’ is a clear admission of guilt that you and others committed an offence under section 216", Sarina stated in the letter.

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Drafting an amendment to section 216 and putting into the Finance (Supplementary) Bill a non-money matter was illegal and dishonest, she added.

"Clearly you all committed another offence, the one mentioned in section 9(a) of the NAB Ordinance, which states that if anyone in power, ‘misuses his authority so as to gain any benefit or favour for himself or any other person, or if he does anything ‘which grants of attempts to grant any undue benefit in any taxation matter or law’ commits the offence of corruption and corrupt practices,” the letter further stated.

“The chairperson of the Federal Board of Revenue, whose job is to ensure compliance with the Income Tax Ordinance, desecrates it. And then there is Mirza Shahzad Akbar, Chairman ARU who did not disclose the assets that ARU has recovered. Are the people not entitled to know? Why is the Auditor General of Pakistan not permitted to audit ARU? Why the absolute secrecy about the money collected by ARU? And, may I once again ask you, Mirza Shahzad Akbar, about your and your family’s assets and income tax status; after all of you gathered the same information about me and my children", says the letter.

“Gentlemen, now that I have publicly raised a mirror to the violation of the laws, will you respond or will it be a repeat of the same unethical behaviour: vilification campaign through your ever-ready troll army spread across Twitter, pseudo-journalists and their propaganda, harassment, threats and death threats. Law Minister, you did not hesitate to accuse me (behind my back) and challenge that I disclose my properties and how they were purchased. I accepted your challenge and made full disclosure publicly and presented myself before the Supreme Court. You lacked the courage to face me. I have never held public office, but you all do/did. Your salaries and other perks and privileges are paid by taxpayers (including me). Therefore, the public and I have every right to be provided with answers and we look forward to your responses”.

“Chairman and Prosecutor General of NAB, I have named the persons who first committed an offence under section 216 of Income Tax Ordinance and then to save themselves from its consequences committed another offence under section 9(a) of the NAB Ordinance of corruption and corrupt practices. I am confident that NAB will prosecute them; the NAB motto Say No to Corruption requires nothing less,” the letter stated.


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