LAHORE: The Directorate of Intelligence and Investigation (I&I) Inland Revenue, under the garb of inquiry/investigation, is allegedly issuing notices to the entire board of directors (BoD) of companies under the anti-money laundering law without specifying as to what was required of them.
Eventually, all the board members of these companies were required to wait for long hours outside the offices of the investigating officers.
It may be pointed out that notwithstanding the broad and wide powers reserved for Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) and investigating or prosecuting agencies for verification of the connection of the property with proceeds of crime prior to the issuance of notices, it is apparent that the scope of inquiry/ investigation does not come to an end thereafter and the investigating officer retains the jurisdiction to further investigate the matter after receiving the reply of the person concerned.
This, however, does not absolve the investigating officers of their obligation for treating the concerned persons with respect and dignity required from them or to demonstrate strict compliance with the guidelines laid down in by the superior courts.
According to the tax practitioners, the law with regard to the notices to be served on the accused persons by the investigating agencies is by now well settled.
While calling any person for the purposes of investigation, he must be informed about the facts, allegation, offence, the name of accused, specified matter, if any, enabling him to furnish the requisite information to the investigating officer, they said.
Also, if the information required from the person can be furnished through any mode which serves the purpose that the person should not be called to appear in person.
If a person is indeed required to appear in person, the notice should mention the date, time and place of his appearance and the date, time and departure from the place to which he is being summoned.
All such orders shall be attached with the case diary which is mandatorily required to be maintained by the investigating officers, they stressed.
Similarly, a notice to be valid must satisfy at least four requirements, including that it must state the act complained of attracting adverse action; the action proposed to be taken; the source of power under which the action is proposed to be taken; and, prescribe the date, time and place of hearing and the period within which the reply may be filed.
They said the investigating officers ought to be aware of their duty which is to collect evidence, material and information from the persons suspected of having committed the offence of money laundering.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023