Rawalpindi: Through recent audits, the revenue department of the Punjab government has reported massive irregularities (stamp duty evasions worth billions of rupees) committed by several housing societies situated in the Rawalpindi district, a news source reported. As per officials, about 40 legal housing schemes had made collective deposits that amount to a meagre PKR 200 million in the provincial treasury.
The provincial government recently declared real estate transactions carried out through written agreements (letters) as illegal, and made it mandatory for the parties involved to pay stamp duty on property transfers.
The amount deposited was much lower than estimates, and officials explained that even if any two of these housing schemes had deposited their stamp duty honestly the amount would have exceeded PKR 200 million. This situation prompted the provincial executive to commence with the audits of these residential societies.
A special team from Lahore consisting of audit experts came to Rawalpindi to assess the situation and found great discrepancies during their initial examination of the records of 40 legal housing schemes. It was found that the dues of only two of the 40 societies surpass PKR 150 million. One owes PKR 130 million, while the other owes PKR 30 million to the provincial exchequer under stamp duty – with the investigation still underway.
Rawalpindi Revenue Department’s Special Magistrate Iqbal Sanghera said that notices would be issued to societies with outstanding dues; ordering them to clear their charges as soon as the audit is completed. The societies will be dispatched reminder notices thrice and their land would be seized in case of non-compliance. The Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) has already announced a zero-tolerance policy against illegal housing projects in the city. As per the latest stats, over 350 housing schemes in Rawalpindi haven’t procured a formal approval from the RDA.