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July 10, 2020

Justice Isa’s wife submits London properties’ documents to FBR

Top Story

July 10, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s wife submitted London properties' documents to the tax authorities on Thursday.

Giving details of money trail and other documents regarding her employment, London properties and income from inherited thousands of kanals of agriculture land, Mrs Isa remained for 45 minutes at Directorate of International Taxes AEOI Zone, Islamabad.

FBR’s Commissioner Inland Revenue Zulfiqar Ahmed, an IRS officer of BS-20, questioned Mrs Isa over her source of income while acquiring London properties. FBR top authorities on direction of Supreme Court tasked Mr Ahmed to probe this case.

Zarina Montessarat Carrera Khoso presented all the records of her properties to the tax officials and also explained how and when she had obtained the properties, according to sources.

The notices to the judge’s wife were sent last week by FBR authorities after receiving directions from the apex court. During the course of proceedings, Mrs Isa also clarified that she owned the properties and her husband Justice Qazi Faez Isa had no link with them. She bought one property for some £23,6000 in 2004, another for £270,000, which is under her and her daughter’s name, and the third one for £245,000 in 2013, sources said. Her son lives in one of the properties and has put the other two on rent, added the sources. She also gave income statements of her employment with an American School System from 1982 to 2004 in Karachi. She also gave details of her income being generated from her inherited agriculture land of some 250 acres (2,000 kanals) in Dera Murad Jamali, Naseerabad and some parts of interior Sindh since 2002, sources said.

According to sources, the money for the purchase was sent from her foreign currency bank account to London, Mrs Isa further told FBR officials. The money was transferred to an account, which is only in her name, she added. Mrs Isa had shared that she married Justice Isa in early 80s and got registered with FBR Regional Tax Office in Karachi in 1995.

The documents she shared with the FBR authorities were the same that were presented before the Supreme Court on June 19, added the sources. Wife of Justice Qazi Faez Isa appeared before the FBR officials in compliance with the order of the Supreme Court.

FBR officials also questioned "non-disclosure" of London properties in her annual returns. "That, you [Mrs Isa] were liable to declare the above offshore properties as per provisions of section 116 (1)&(b)," an FBR official asked. "My tax lawyer advised me years back that I was not liable to declare my agriculture income, etc---Recently as tax law changed, my counsel asked me to declare my offshore assets, so I did it," she stated in her reply submitted with FBR officials. Section 116 (I)&(b) of FBR new law "mandates every taxpayer to file the wealth statement in the prescribed format declaring therein the total assets and liabilities of the person and his spouse, minor children and other dependents."

That, Mrs Isa, her daughter Sahar Isa and Arsalan Isa Khoso (her son) did not declare their London properties since they did not file their tax declarations for the tax year 2014 to 2018, FBR officials told this correspondent.

The sources also confirmed that the FBR officials have taken all the documents and started reviewing them, sources said. The federal government was also contemplating either to generate an MLA to government of United Kingdom to take further details pertaining to Mrs Isa’s London properties. The Assets Recovery Unit headed by Mirza Shahzad Akbar, Adviser to Prime Minister on Accountability, may work on this idea floated by FBR International Taxes wing to bring some more conclusive information on Mrs Isa’s offshore to probe the matter further, sources said.

FBR's authorities, last week, officially relocated jurisdiction of tax office for Justice Isa's wife from Karachi’s Regional Taxpayer Office (RTO-III) to Islamabad, , a source said. Zulfiqar Ahmed also called on Chief International Taxes FBR and Member Operations Dr Ishfaq Ahmed for guidance last week accordingly, added the source.

Commissioner Zulfiqar Ahmed had served mostly in Karachi where Mrs Isa used to file her returns for over a decade. Sarina Isa told the apex court during the proceedings of this case that her Karachi tax office was changed without her consent by FBR authorities years back.

Last month, the apex court dismissed the presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa after declaring it ‘invalid’ while accepting the petitioner’s pleas. The Supreme Court gave 60 days to FBR for the completion of the report pertaining to the offshore properties and submit its final report with the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

The short verdict stated that, “The notices shall be served at the official residence of Justice Qazi Faez Isa at Islamabad through courier service and such other means as may be considered appropriate and shall be deemed served on the respondents when received at the said address.”