The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) froze the accounts of the state-owned Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) for the non-payment of Income Tax.
The FBR had served a notice to the news agency on February 26 “to settle fiscal 2010-2011 accounts, as non-payment is a violation of income Tax Ordinance 2002.”
In a criminal breach the previous APP management despite deducting the income tax from the salaries of the employees during 2010-2011 failed to deposit around Rs 10 Crore with the FBR.
According to the FBR the outstanding amount “cannot be withdrawn” or settled till the due funds are deposited with the national exchequer.
The APP which is already facing a serious financial crunch due to over employement of around 400 staffers is also facing several court cases filed by its employees against the management for illegal appointments. A two-member bench of the Sindh High Court has already issued a contempt notice to Secretary Information and Broadcasting and the MD APP, despite giving a written undertaking not to hire employees in news agency, in violation of
merit and service criterion.
The petitioner questioned the APP management decisions to employ over 500 persons without advertisement in news papers on contract basis.
The APP despite the SHC order initiated the process of regularization despite non exiting vacancies and depleting financial resources of the APP Corporation.
The petitioner also requested to the court to look into misappropriation of Rupees 11.2 Crore from the account of Contributory provident Fund of the employees of the national news agency.
The Federal Investigation Agency is also probing the missing amount from the APP’s Contributory Provident Fund (PF).
It would be interesting to note that just few months ago FBR froze bank accounts of energy giant, Hub Power company over Rs 200 Crore of tax fight which is now in Supreme court.
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