SECP Chairman Zafar Hijazi taken into FIA custody

Published July 21, 2017
SECP Chairman Zafar Hijazi's interim bail expired today. ─ DawnNews
SECP Chairman Zafar Hijazi's interim bail expired today. ─ DawnNews

Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Chairman Zafar Hijazi was taken into custody by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Friday morning in Islamabad after his interim bail expired.

Hijazi was taken into custody outside the court of the special judge central in the capital after FIA officials argued before the judge that Hijazi should not be granted an extension in bail by the court.

The FIA had registered a First Information Report against the SECP chairman under sections 466 (forgery) and 471 (using forged documents as genuine) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), read with Section 5(2)47 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, at the agency's Special Investigation Unit (SIU) in Islamabad.

The criminal case was registered on the orders of the Supreme Court after the bench had examined a report prepared by the joint investigation team (JIT) probing the Sharif family's wealth in the Panamagate case.

The arrest comes just over a week after the investigating team, tasked by the Supreme Court with probing the graft claims, said that documents naming Sharif's daughter Maryam as a trustee for several of the family's high-end London properties were also “falsified”.

The JIT report alleged that the SECP chairman had altered records related to Chaudhry Sugar Mills.

An investigation team headed by FIA Director Maqsoodul Hassan had also submitted a report to the SC on July 8, which found the chairman guilty of altering the records in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.

The FIA submitted the 28-page report to the apex court, endorsing the JIT’s allegation.

The FIA investigation team had, earlier, asked Hijazi to present certain documents to prove his innocence in connection with allegations of record-tampering.

Hijazi, who had obtained interim bail from a special FIA judge until today was to appear in court today for an extension in or confirmation of his bail.

Consequently, the SECP’s law department had a busy day on Thursday, due to the possibility of the chairman being remanded to FIA custody.

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