- Having no substantial source of income to purchase these expensive foreign properties, Vawda avoided declaring 9 of these properties
- Experts believe that the inflow and outflow of money in his tax record prove his alleged involvement in money laundering, assets beyond means and tax evasion
- Despite having billions of rupees properties, he registered as tax payer in 2004 and after that his tax record shows zero tax for many years
- Sales tax account of the minister’s only company mentioned in his nomination papers suspended due to non-payment of tax
- The minister was continuously approached for his version since November 2018 but he avoided giving a detailed version
ISLAMABAD: Although his known sources of income were unknown except a loss-making small level construction company, the PTI’ federal minister nevertheless purchased as many as nine lucrative properties in highly expensive areas of London and chose not to declare them in Pakistan, documents available with Daily Business World (DBW) confirm whereas the minister is hesitant to deny. The minister is considered very close to the real power centres of the country.
Guess the owner: Faisal Vawda—Minister for Water Resources. The above-mentioned are in addition to yet some other properties in UK and two other countries he declared in his nomination papers but that too only during the 2018 elections when media had started asking him questions about his unbelievable foreign wealth. Property record available with DBW indicates Vawda allegedly purchased these properties between 2007 and 2016.
Probe into Vawda’s alleged properties in United Kingdom from the official record of UK Land Registry department took many months. As some of the Vawda’s properties were sold out by him so the ownership of nine of these London properties was being shown in different names on official website of the UK Land Registry Department and moving applications in the Land Registry office of London manually to acquire the detailed past ownership record was mandatory. UK Land Registry office London provided official copies of historical ownership of the properties. These certified official copies of UK government available with DBW confirm beyond an iota of doubt that Mr Vawda owned these nine properties at different time intervals during 2007 to 2016.
The alleged nine properties under question are of worth billions of rupees. However, neither the properties nor the money obtained through the sale of these flats and houses were ever reflected in the wealth statement and nomination papers of Vawda. These properties were located at the heart of London: five of them were situated at Edgware Road, two at Water Gardens and one each at Stourcliffe Street and Cambridge Square.
Only in 2018, without giving any details, Vawda has declared some properties outside Pakistan worth Rs18 Crore. However, Vawda remained hesitant to clarify whether these properties declared only in 2018 have been declared by taking advantage of whitening of black money scheme (Tax Amnesty Scheme 2018) or without it. As he has mentioned only ‘assets held outside Pakistan’ without giving details of these foreign properties, so it is also not clear whether he is declaring only five UK properties or his Dubai and Malaysian flats have also been declared in his 2018 wealth statement. (The five UK properties and flats in Dubai and Malaysia have been mentioned in his nomination papers for 2018 elections).
In an earlier telephonic interview with media, Vawda had admitted the ownership of five UK properties which are declared in his nomination papers. He claimed that these properties were purchased through legal means of income without giving any details of sources of his income. However, when Vawda was sent a detailed questionnaire in which he was also asked about nine undeclared properties, he refused to comment. “Thanks brother no version from my side as the matter is in the court and I can’t comment this is what the lawyer said,” was his response.
Upon reminding that the matter relating his Karachi properties is in court, not the one he secretly purchased in London, he didn’t answer again. Vawda was again asked about the source of income for purchasing these expensive properties but he gave no response.
“Tax record proves Vawda is a perfect case of alleged money laundering, assets beyond means and tax evasion. His declared income doesn’t justify his assets as the inflows reflected in his tax returns are so meagre that one cannot even buy a single flat in Pakistan let alone over a dozen properties in swanky areas of London. Vawda’s tax record also doesn’t reflect any amount sent outside Pakistan. This shows he laundered the money to buy flats in UK and other countries through illegal channels,” A tax expert opined to DBW after analysing complete tax record of Vawda.
Similarly, for the first time he has declared only Rs18 Crore worth properties outside Pakistan in his tax returns for the fiscal year 2017-18. While on the other hand, if we calculate the amount of his five UK properties and flats in Dubai and Malaysia which are declared in his nomination papers valued more than Rs313 million as mentioned by Vawda himself which is a clear contradiction. This proves he has either concealed any of his property or under declared the value of these properties to evade tax”, a senior tax expert added.
Now coming to the hidden nine London properties which Vawda owned at some point of time between 2007 and 2016 but did not declare include;
i)- Title No. NGL 361763, Flat 603, Park West, Edgware Road, London W2 2RB
The UK Land registry office document (Copy of which available with DBW) shows Vawda purchased this property in 2007 at the price of £320,000. According to UK property websites Zoopla, after 2007 the flat was sold in 2013. The current estimated value of this property is £460,000. (Rs85.10 million).
ii)- Title No. NGL 403293, Flat 466, Park West, Edgware Road, London W2 2QU
The UK Land registry document shows that Vawda bought this flat on July 23, 2007 at the price of £285,000. According to the UK-based real estate website Zoopla, after 2007 the property was listed for sale in July 2016 and the demand price of this property was £550,000. However the flat was sold at the rate of £495,000 (Rs91.575 million) in October 2016.
iii)- Title No. NGL 382324, Flat 368, Park West, Edgware Road, London W2 2QS
The official documents of UK Land Registry office shows that Vawda purchased this flat on September 26, 2007 at the rate of £320,000. After 2007 the flat was sold in December 2012 at the rate of £340,000, reveals the UK-based real estate website Zoopla. The current estimated value of this flat is £505,000 (Rs.93.425 million).
iv)- Title No. NGL 400830, Flat 489, Park West, Edgware Road, London, W2 2QS
The UK Land Registry office’s official documents reveal that Vawda purchased this property on March 05, 2008 at the rate of £285,000. According to UK-based real estate website Zoopla, after 2007, the flat was sold in September 2011 at the rate of £296,000. The current estimated price of the property is £518,000 (Rs95.830 million).
v)- Title No. NGL 371378, Flat 567, Park West, Edgware Road, London, W22RA
The official documents obtained from UK Land Registry office reveal that Vawda bought this flat on September 25, 2007 at the rate of £295,000. After 2007, the UK property website reflects that the flat was sold in 2013 at the rate of £365,000. The current estimated price of this flat according to property website Zoopla is £484,000 (Rs89.540 million).
vi)- Title No. NGL 773727, Flat 24, Stourcliffe Close, Stourcliffe Street, London W1H 5AQ
According to UK land registry document, Vawda bought this flat on 13 Sept 2007 at the rate of £640,000. After 2007, the flat was listed for sale in November 2014 and March 2017 and the demand price of the property was £1.15 million. However, the flat as per the real estate website was sold in June 2017 at the price of £1.05 million (Rs194.250 million).
vii)-Title No. NGL 946951, 9 Water Gardens, Stanmore HA73 Q1
As per the UK land registry documents, Vawda owned this property in November 2014. According to UK property website Zoopla, the property was sold in 2007 at the rate of £750,000 and then the property was again sold in £1,100,000. The current estimated value of this property as per the real estate website Zoopla is £1.12 million (Rs205.350 million).
viii)- Title No. NGL 947677, 118 The Water Gardens London, W2 2DD
The UK Land Registry office’s documents shows that Vawda owned this property in December 2014. The real estate website has estimated the price of this property up to £1.3 million. According to this website this property was sold in 2008 at the rate of £600,000 and then again it was sold in December 2014 at the price of £1,200,000. The current estimated price of this house is £1,352,000 (Rs250.120 million).
ix)- Title No. NGL 948683, Flat 128 Quadrangle Tower, Cambridge Square, London W2 2PL
According to UK Land Registry documents, Vawda owned this property on January 27, 2015. The flat is on the 4th floor of Quadrangle tower. As per the real estate website, the flat was sold in 2007 at the price £550,000 and again it was sold in February 2016 at the rate of £895,000. The current estimated price of this flat is £947,000 (Rs175.195 million).
Is Vawda resident of Pakistan or expatriate?
The documents available with DBW reveal that PTI minister is a resident of Pakistan and he has never resided outside Pakistan for six months in any fiscal year after 2010. According to Section 82 of Income Tax Ordinance (ITO), “An individual shall be a resident individual for a tax year if the individual – (a) is present in Pakistan for a period of, or periods amounting in aggregate to, 183 days or more in the tax year”.
The experts believe, “If it is true that Vawda has been resident of Pakistan from 2010 till to date then he is bound to pay his taxes on his worldwide income regardless of where it is received. He is bound to declare his worldwide properties in his tax returns but he concealed it and cheated the tax authorities”.
Vawda’s Tax Record
The documents pertaining to Vawda’s tax record available with DBW shows some interesting facts. There is no online record of Vawda’s tax from 2007 to 2013. DBW has also obtained his wealth statements from 2014 to 2018. According to his wealth statement for fiscal year 2014-15, Vawda declared the net value of all his assets to the tune of Rs136,423,104 (Rs136.42 million). Similarly, Rs10,077,022 (Rs10.07 million) have been mentioned as foreign remittance whereas Rs6,550,000 (Rs6.55 million) have been mentioned as personal expenses. Similarly Vawda mentioned Rs27,372,145 (Rs27.37 million) as inflows and Rs11,140,197 (Rs11.14 million) as outflows for the fiscal year 2016-17. Interestingly, no foreign property has been mentioned in his wealth statement Form 116 (2).
The statement of assets and liabilities for the fiscal year 2016-17 shows that PTI minister mentioned the total value of his assets is Rs149,892,335 (Rs 149.89 million) whereas Rs7,050,000 (Rs 7.05 million) have been mentioned as his personal expenditures. He has not declared any foreign property in the statement of assets.
Similarly, Vawda’s tax record for the fiscal year 2017-18 obtained from the most legal authentic sources show that for the first time Vawda declared Rs188,361,390 properties outside Pakistan. It is however unclear whether he has declared his Dubai properties, his flat in Malaysia or the five UK properties which were mentioned in his nomination papers. The current value of even a single property in UK is almost equal to Rs18 Crore. However, Vawda in his wealth statement for the fiscal year 2017-18 has shown that his net assets have increased from Rs 149.89 million to Rs319.33 million. According to his wealth statement, Vawda has shown Rs200.599 million inflows. His wealth statement reflects that he received Rs6.41 million foreign remittance and Rs194 million have been shown in ‘Others’ category. Similarly, he has mentioned Rs130 million assets inside Pakistan.
Vawda was registered as a tax payer in Pakistan in 2004. However, his online tax record from 2007 to 2013 shows zero income tax. Similarly, the FBR annual taxpayers directories which are publically available on the revenue board’s official website shows that Mr Vawda paid zero tax in the fiscal year 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The FBR directory for fiscal year 2016 shows that Vawda paid Rs480, 904 income tax and mentioned stock exchange as the source of his income. Similarly, he paid Rs4,090,197 (Rs4.09 million) in 2017 whereas his source of income was stock exchange.
Details of Vawda’s properties in his nomination papers
Interestingly, Mr Vawda who owned multiple luxurious apartments in posh areas of London has mentioned in his nomination papers that the total value of his moveable and immoveable assets is only Rs298,103,384 (298.10 million) as of June 07, 2018.
As per his nomination papers, he owns five properties in London which include 19-20 Hyde Park Place; an apartment at 292 Elgin Avenue and an apartment at 177 Quadrangle Tower near Edgware Road. He has also mentioned two more properties value in British pound Sterling but not the names of these properties.
Where is the money obtained through sale proceeds of 9 undeclared properties?
The nine undeclared properties remained in Vawda’s ownership from the period of 2007 to 2016. As per the UK Land registry office’s documents copies of which are available with DBW two properties were in the ownership of Vawda till December 2014, one property till January 2015 and another properties was owned by him till February 2016. However, currently the ownership of these properties has been changed. It is not confirmed whether Vawda has sold these flats or transferred it to some other names (Not in his wife’s name though). The question here arises if Vawda has sold these flats then where the money (obtained through sale proceeds of these properties) is reflected as it has not been mentioned in his wealth statement.
From where Vawda got money to purchase 9 luxurious London properties &What is FVG?
The PTI Minister has always presented Faisal Vawda Group (FVG) Construction as his main source of income and the same has been declared in his nomination paper under the category of business entity. The FVG construction is so small that it is neither registered with SECP as a company nor it is listed with Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD) in Karachi.
Official record show that his company paid zero sales tax from 2007 to 2013 and from July 2013 until now its sales tax account is suspended by the FBR. This raises serious questions that how were London Flats purchased at a time when the only source of income (FVG Construction) was paying zero taxes.