Why the Tosha Khana case is a hot potato?
The sale of three watches given as a gift to ousted PM Imran Khan by foreign dignitaries is deemed as illegal by the ECP. Here are the reported facts:
Khan sold the luxury watches earning huge profits.
The sale would have been absolutely legal, had he followed the law. “Tosha Khana (Management and Regulation) Act (Amended 2022) lays down the following rules:
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- When any person of position visits abroad, he or she may receive gifts. The Prime Minister and President may not receive any personal gifts as per law. If a gift’s value is equal to Rs 30,000 or below, it can be retained by receiver. A gift above this value must be deposited at the Tosha Khana.
- The Chief of Protocol, Foreign Ministry and Pakistan Embassy of a country visited by a dignitary from Pakistan must declare gifts for visiting officials in their record. Mr Khan however, failed to mention any gift received from his 5 trips out of a total of 13.
- In case of a sale after gifts being deposited in Tosha Khana, there has to be a third-party evaluation before anyone can sell a gift after depositing it with the Tosha Khana. It repealed the older provision of allowing to pay government treasury 20% of their value, that was upped to 50%. The amendment came in Mr Khan’s own government.
- The Tosha Khan Evaluation Committee is composed of officials from FBR, Central Bank and the market experts.
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- However, it is mandatory to submit to the above committee, gifts meant for purchase after being deposited at Tosha Khana, before paying the price (to be decided by the evaluation committee).
- It is also mandatory upon the said public official selling a gift to report the receipt of the gifts to the Cabinet Division. Failing which ‘appropriate action ‘against the offender to be taken. [As per the Act].
- Gifts of value must be catalogued & displayed at govt. building or museums.
- Cars gifted must go to the central pool of vehicles of the cabinet divisions.
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What method was followed by Mr. Khan
Mr Khan could have followed the rules. He chose otherwise. He did not deposit the watches at the Tosha Khana, bypassing the third-party validation, sold the same depositing the 20% of each sale in government treasury. ‘Quoting’ receipts.
Reportedly, Tosha Khana’s documents show that the former Prime Minister earned Rs 36 million from the cumulative sale. One of the watches was officially assessed at Rs 101 million. The watch was sold at Rs 51 million and after putting in 20%, earned the former premiere a handsome profit Rs 31 million. The other, a Rolex Platinum watch gifted to him went for Rs 5.2 million. By the Tosha Khana rules, it is placed at a cost of Rs 3.8 million. After 20% paid, he earned roughly [ give or take], Rs 4.5 million. Another watch, also a Rolex, placed at worth Rs 1.8 million is reportedly sold at Rs 1.5 million. After handing in Rs 0.29 million to the government treasury, he harvested a profit of Rs 1.5 million.
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To reiterate, the amount to be put in at the government treasury is 50% of the sale price & not 20%.
Mr Khan had also failed to submit details of the proceeds from the subsequent sale in his yearly returns. This was shared by the ruling coalition last year as per a leading newspaper report.
If he has acted as per law, he needs to produce documents in court, and be there when asked by court & prove his case. If he has committed a wrong, he needs to accept it.
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The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled ‘A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.’ She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org and tweets at @yasmeen_9
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