ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The National Assembly on Wednesday passed Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act 2017 for prohibition of holding property in benami and restrict right to recover or transfer property and provide mechanism and procedure of confiscation of benami property.
The proposed law was referred back to National Assembly after essential amendments and was unanimously passed by the lower house.
Under this law, the benami property means a transaction or arrangement where a property is transferred to, or held by, and the consideration of such property has been provided or, paid by another person; or a property held for the immediate future benefit, direct or indirect, of the person who has provided the consideration; a transaction or arrangement in respect of a property carried out or made in fictitious name; a transaction or arrangement in respect of a property where the owner of the property is not aware of, or, denies knowledge of, such ownership; and a transaction or arrangement in respect of a property where the person providing the consideration is not traceable or fictitious.
The law provides that no person shall enter into any benami transaction and anybody violating this provision shall be punishable under the law and any property, which is subject matter of benami transactions, shall be liable to be confiscated by the federal government.
Moreover, no person, being benamidar shall transfer the benami property held by him to the beneficial owner or any other person acting on his behalf and where any property is retransferred in contravention of the provisions of this law, the transaction of such property shall be deemed to be null and void.
This bill, once it becomes an Act, shall deal with the problems of tax evasion and black money especially in the real estate sector, and to target transactions that are carried out in other people’s name.
It is also meant for putting an end to benami transactions, and to empower the government to recover such property, defining benami transactions, the legislature intends to prohibit all persons from entering into such transactions.
The bill further seeks to ensure that if any person enters into a benami transaction to evade tax or avoid payment to creditors, the ultimate beneficial owner and persons who abet or induce any person to undertake such transaction, suffer rigorous punishment.