Islamabad: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) on Thursday issued its ‘Search and Seizure Rules 2019’ manual, pertaining to the modes of conducting search and seizure raids of properties in the country – according to a news report.
The rules are a part of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) requirements to document the economy and expand Pakistan’s tax base.
According to the announced rules, an investigating officer of the SECP may enter any property after obtaining the requisite permission. The said official, however, is required to prepare an inventory of seized documents and electronic evidence in the presence of the occupant.
At the same time, he will have to prepare a seizure memo and a case diary which records all the steps that have been taken by the investigation team. Moreover, the search of such properties needs to be carried out in the presence of two witnesses.
Assistance can be obtained from the local police for conducting the search, while the investigative officer can also call other administrative agencies for the same.
In case resistance is expected, the investigating officer can obtain search-warrants from the concerned magistrate.
Under the rules, the officer has also been given powers to ‘break any door, window or vehicle’ in order to seize any movable property. Owners of lockers are required to open them and, in cases of noncompliance, the locks can legally be broken.
The rules also give investigating officers the right to search individuals, and access, seize and secure electronic devices – along with obtaining the passwords required to open them.