Presidency accused of helping Sethi in ‘tax evasion case’

Najam Sethi.—AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf accused the president’s secretariat on Friday of helping the family of Najam Sethi, former Punjab caretaker chief minister, in what it termed a tax evasion case.

In a press statement, PTI information secretary Dr Shireen Mazari alleged that the presidency had rescued family members of Mr Sethi in the tax case in which they had been found guilty by the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO).

She cited a Jan 16 letter written by the Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) to President Mamnoon Husain, containing details of the tax evasion case.

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Dr Mazari said she was shocked over the Presidency’s efforts to shelter Najam Sethi and members of his family from serious financial charges levelled against them by the Federal Board of Revenue.

She said the TIP letter pointed out how the Presidency’s legal wing had admitted “an illegal petition” on behalf of Sethi’s family which cast a shadow of corruption over the office of the Presidency.

“The Presidency shouldn’t enter into what is an effort to conceal ill-gotten financial gains by Sethi and his family.”

Dr Mazari claimed that Sethi, who currently holds an important position in the Pakistan Cricket Board, had used his influence to prevent publication of the TIP letter. “The president should take immediate action not only to dissociate him from this contentious move to shelter corruption but also punish those responsible for dragging the Presidency into this issue,” she demanded.

In its letter, the TIP maintained that faced with the charges of concealing huge investment created out of income from undisclosed sources, family members of Mr Sethi had filed three complaints with the FTO which rejected them in April last year.

Instead of filing representation before the president, they preferred review petitions before the FTO which were also rejected in November 2014.

The TIP now says that under the law of the land, after exhausting a review petition at the FTO level, the complainant cannot approach the Presidency and that’s where officials are committing violations.

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