MPs assets, liabilities: FBR, ECP to evolve mechanism for info

MPs assets, liabilities: FBR, ECP to evolve mechanism for info

Federal Board of Revenue ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) have decided to jointly chalk out an effective mechanism for obtaining accurate information from political parties about their declared campaign expenses during elections and sharing assets and liabilities related data of members parliament and provincial assemblies as per existing laws including Income Tax Ordinance 2001.

Sources told Business Recorder here on Tuesday that the ECP has requested the FBR to give legal viewpoint and expert opinion on key issues relating to sharing of assets and liabilities related information of the Members of the National Assembly and Senate. The FBR will also give legal opinion on the proposal of the ECP for making mandatory for the politicians to declare that no asset has been kept as Benami. Under the existing laws including tax laws, the FBR will give its comments on the assessment of the declared campaign expenses of the political parties and utilization of data pertaining to the assets and liabilities of Members of the Parliament and Provincial Assemblies.

 The ECP has also sought guidance from the FBR to clarify tax related issues of politicians particularly disclosure of the assets and liabilities of Members of the Parliament and Provincial Assemblies.According to the sources, the ECP and the FBR will also compare the income tax laws with the Section 42A of the Representation of People Act, 1976 and Section 25A of the Senate (Election) Act, 1975 under which it will become mandatory for the Members of the Parliament and provincial Assemblies to submit to the Election Commission the yearly statements of assets and liabilities of their own, their spouse and dependents.

In this connection, the FBR has decided to clarify eight major legal issues raised by the Election Commission regarding assessment of the campaign expenses of the political parties and declarations of assets and liabilities of Members of the National Assembly, Senate and Members of Provincial Assemblies.Sources said that the top officials of the ECP and the FBR would discuss the following tax related issues of the Members of the Parliament and Provincial Assemblies:

1. Whether the ECP should place on the website the notifications containing details of political parties’ accounts as well as statements of assets and liabilities of Members of the Parliament and Provincial Assemblies?2. Whether information about assets of close relatives and dependents is equally important in our context as most of the assets are kept in their names and whether an affidavit should also be made mandatory to the effect that no asset has been kept as benami?

3. Whether ECP is duplicating activity by seeking assets declaration Form and whether it should coordinate with Federal Board of Revenue and seek a certificate from FBR regarding assets declaration and tax payment certificate on behalf of the individual and political party and what is the effect of the existing provisions of law contained in Section 42A of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 and 25A of the Senate (Election) Act, 1975?4. Whether the enforcement of law (Sections 49-50 of the Representation of the People Act, 1976) relating to election expenditure is necessary? And whether there should be an undertaking from the political parties and not necessarily the individual candidate?

5. Ensuring implementation of proposed measures related to intra-party elections, which is strict enforcement of internal elections requirements.

6. There should be Coordination Committee involving the Auditor General of Pakistan, FBR, ECP to prepare a mechanism for declared campaign expenses and their further assessment.

7. There should be a justification of upper limit control on campaign expenses of political parties/candidates according to law.8. It should be ensured that all the expenses by political parties/candidates should be made more transparent, proposals of the Election Commission added. – Brecorder