KARACHI: A banking court has repeated the issuance of a non-bailable warrant for the arrest of former president and Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in a Rs4.14 billion alleged money laundering case, it emerged on Friday.

Court officials said that the warrant against Mr Zardari was reissued in the case on Thursday for a second time as the court had earlier ordered his arrest on July 24.

The case was initially registered against former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairman Hussain Lawai, who is widely believed to be a close aide to Mr Zardari, and other bankers in connection with an ongoing probe into a massive money laundering scam.

Two suspects remanded for seven days in ‘fake’ accounts case

Lawai and other bankers were accused of facilitating opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited, where “beneficiaries of the Sindh government” had deposited Rs35bn that was subsequently transferred to different accounts.

In the interim charge sheet filed on July 21, Mr Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur’s names appeared in the list of absconding accused persons along with their addresses.

Ms Talpur later obtained an interim pre-arrest bail in the case in the sum of Rs2 million.

Additionally, another of Mr Zardari’s close aides, Anwar Majeed, and his son were also named in the list of absconders which contains the names of 20 individuals.

Earlier, in July Mr Lawai and banker Taha Raza were detained and booked for allegedly facilitating the opening of the 29 ‘fake’ accounts through which suspicious transactions were made to different companies, including M/s Zardari Group.

Later, the investigating officer filed an interim charge sheet in court showing 20 beneficiaries, including Mr Zardari and Ms Talpur, as absconders in the case.

The court ordered that all the suspects be arrested and presented before the court by Sept 4.

Two remanded in FIA custody

The same banking court remanded Anwar Majeed and Abdul Ghani Majeed for seven days to the custody of the Federal Investigation Agency for investigation and interrogation.

The court ordered the investigating officer to produce the suspects in court on Aug 25 after completing interrogation.

The IO had, however, requested the court for 11-day remand of the suspects.

Appearing for the two suspects, Advocate Farooq H. Naek requested the court to direct the IO to produce before the court the evidence, if any, against his clients.

The IO said that the suspects were arrested only a day ago and that he would produce the evidence on the next date of hearing.

Later, talking to the media, Advocate Naek said that it would be the personal decision of Mr Zardari whether or not he obtained bail in the case.

On Friday evening, Anwar Majeed was admitted to NICVD, said FIA sources privy to the development.

They added that Mr Majeed was not “cooperating” with the investigators and was allegedly subjecting the investigators to “undesirable attitude” at the airport and later on during investigation.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2018