SC orders formation of JIT to probe money laundering case

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ISLAMABAD : The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe into an ongoing Rs35 billion money laundering case.
“We are forming a JIT and it will submit a report on the matter every 15 days,” Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said as he headed a three-judge bench hearing a case pertaining to money laundering of Rs35 billion from fictitious bank accounts.

During the hearing Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar rejected Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) request to hold investigation in Islamabad and ordered to carry out probe in Sindh.

FIA DG Bashir Memon has recommended the CJP to include members of intelligence agency in JIT over which, CJP said that he will finalise the names.
Director General Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Bashir Memon while recording his statement said they conducted a raid at Omni Group’s Karachi office.

“We found documents related to Kam Crown International Trading House Company in Dubai during the raid,” the DG FIA said.

Based on those documents we conducted a raid at the Dubai office and found numerous records of foreign currency accounts, Memon added.
The DIG FIA further told the court that the records of accounts found from the Dubai office belong to family of Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed and the transfers in the accounts were made by the same people as those indicated in the account details found earlier.
“From Dubai, money was sent to England and France,” he continued. We also seized several hard drives which contain a lot of data, he said.
To this, Justice Ijazul Ahsan questioned if FIA has people who can check the data and the DG FIA responded, “Our cyber crime wing is working on it but there is a lot of data.”

Justice Saqib directed Rangers to provide foolproof security to the JIT. He also clarified not to include Director FIA Najaf Mirza in the inquiry team.

He said that former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur should not have any issue with JIT and that they can participate in political activities after getting clean chit in the case.

Asif Ali Zardari, Faryal Talpur and their associates are accused of sending Rs35 billion abroad through fake accounts after which, their names were placed on Exit Control List (ECL).

Hussain Lawai, chairman of Pakistan Stock Exchange, and his associates are accused of opening 29 fake accounts in the Summit Bank and United Bank of Pakistan Limited.

FIA had prepared a report, revealing that more than 10 political personalities were allegedly involved in fictitious transactions worth Rs35 billion.
The chief justice then remarked, “We should form a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe this matter.”

As Justice Ahsan questioned if anyone had reservations to the formation of a JIT, Justice Nisar said, “Who will have any reservations?”

“The suspects will get a clean chit. This matter has nothing to do with the suspects,” the chief justice added.

Following this, Majeed’s counsel Shahid Hamid said, “I have filed a miscellaneous petition regarding the JIT, kindly look into it.”

However, Justice Nisar remarked, We have records of the conversation between Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed and the chief minister.

It was said that Majeed can reside at the chief minister’s residence, the chief justice added.

“We will transfer the case to Punjab,” Justice Nisar further said.

The chief justice then said, “Instead of the earlier investigation, we should form a JIT to probe into the matter.”

“It is a matter of Rs35 billion, we want a transparent investigation,” he observed.

Stating that it is the nation’s right that their looted money is brought back, the chief justice said, “We should form a JIT for further investigation.”

The bench then ordered the formation of a JIT to probe into the matter.

The FIA is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur. Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested last month in connection with the probe.

The former president’s other close aide and Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed and his son, Abdul Ghani, were also arrested by FIA earlier this month.

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