PTI seeks information on recovery of $200billion in Swiss banks

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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has sought certified information regarding the recovery of US$ 200 billion illegally stashed in Swiss banks under the Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002. In failure to do so, the PTI would ask the apex court to take a suo motu notice on this huge drainage of taxpayers’ money.

PTI’s senior leader Andleeb Abbas, in a letter to the premier’s principal secretary, demanded that being a citizen of Pakistan and a taxpayer, she has a right to be provided with the certified information regarding recovery of $200b under the article 19-A of the constitution.

She said that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in his written reply to the National Assembly on May 9, 2014, citied figures from Swiss government and banking officials that Pakistanis had illegally hoarded $200 billion in Swiss accounts.

Therefore, she asked whether Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif — who also holds the portfolio of foreign minister – has taken any action for the exchange of information with Switzerland after a tax treaty was negotiated between the countries in 2014.

Offshore companies, Nescoll and Nielsen, owned by Prime Minister’s son, as per the statement given in Supreme Court, are controlled by a company registered in Zurich, Switzerland, as documented by FIA in its report which is now a part of the record in Panama Leaks case.

“Is this the reason that the PM had stopped the implementation of Pakistan-Switzerland Tax Treaty signed in August 2014 and its article 26 which was to go in effect from January 2015?” she asked.

The PTI leader asked whether Pakistani taxpayers have been deprived of billions of dollars because the government did not take any action in recovering the stashed money. She claimed that a compliance of this treaty in January 2015 would have made a material difference to the fate and outcome of the Panama case.

She said that why the Prime Minister did not take to task Ishaq Dar, Finance Ministry and the FBR for this criminal negligence of 200 billion dollars loss, the recovery of which would make Pakistan independent of all foreign loans and become a sovereign state.

“Please inform why exchange of information under tax treaty with Switzerland was delayed that caused loss of billions to national exchequer, as funds stashed in Swiss banks could not be retrieved,” the letter reads.

She demanded that the certified copies of the entire record of negotiations with Swiss government on tax treaty held in August 2014 should be provided.

Andleeb requested that she should be provided the certified information and response to these questions within 21 days as specified in the Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002, otherwise she would request the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice on this huge drainage of taxpayers’ money.