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NICL ruling: SC orders proceedings against NAB chief, Amin Fahim

Updated November 22, 2013
Supreme Court of Pakistan. — File photo
Supreme Court of Pakistan. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has ordered the registration of a case against National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry in its verdict issued Friday on the multi-billion-rupee National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam case.

A three judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, issued the 52-page-long ruling which also declared illegal the appointment of Ayaz Khan Niazi as the chairman of NICL and also ruled that the money in question be recovered as quickly as possible.

The judgment added that former interior secretary Qamar Zaman Chaudhry and federal tax ombudsman Abdul Rauf Chaudhry had tried to obstruct the decision.

The court has also ordered that proceedings be initiated against former commerce minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim and former commerce secretary Salman Ghani.

Moreover, the ruling also said that proceedings be started against former establishment secretary Ismail Qureshi, former cabinet secretary Nargis Sethi, former principal secretary to the prime minister Khushnood Lashari, a former director of NICL Amin Qasim Dada, an accused in the case Mohsin Habib Warraich and former Director-General Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Malik Muhammad Iqbal.

The court added that Capt Zafar Ahmed Qureshi, who was associated with the FIA at the time of the probe into the scam, was deliberately kept away from its investigation in an attempt to obstruct justice.

The bench ordered the initiation of proceedings against the above-mentioned under Section 9(a)(vi) of the NAB ordinance. This section refers to “misuses” of authority “so as to gain any benefit or favour” for oneself or for any other person, or “to render or attempt to do so”.

News of corruption in the NICL first came to light when Ayaz Khan Niazi, four other officials of the company and their accomplices were charged with violating rules in the procurement of 10 acres in a Korangi area which caused huge financial losses to the national exchequer.

The prosecution at an anti-corruption court at the time said that then secretary of the ministry of commerce Zafar Mehmood had sent a written complaint to the FIA on Nov 16, 2010 in which he requested them to probe all purchases of land at various places and on different times by the NICL and further requested to register a separate case regarding the prima facie embezzlement of NICL funds in the transaction of 10 acres purchased in August 2009 in a Korangi area against the amount of Rs90 million per acre, which allegedly caused huge losses to the exchequer.

The chairman, board of directors, investment committee of the NICL, sellers, valuators and others with the connivance of each other committed offences of criminal breach of trust, misconduct, forgery and cheating, it had added.