ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) proposed before the Supreme Court on Tuesday constitution of a six-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe alleged fake accounts and fictitious transactions worth Rs35 billion.
The JIT, if formed on the directive of the apex court, will include senior representatives from the FIA, State Bank of Pakistan, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, National Accountability Bureau, Military Intelligence and Inter-Services Intelligence, besides a professional chartered accountant.
Take a look: Pakistan loses $10bn a year to money laundering
The Supreme Court was expected to announce the JIT on Tuesday after hearing from all the sides involved in the matter, but due to the absence of senior counsel Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, it decided to take up the matter on Sept 5 on a regular basis.
On a suo motu, a three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had taken up the fake accounts case that revolves around a 2015 inquiry into suspicious transactions when 29 ‘benami’ accounts were opened in different banks.
At a previous hearing, the court had hinted at appointing a high-powered JIT in the fake accounts case involving former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur among other accused.
Agency’s report submitted to Supreme Court says accused also operate a foreign company
The apex court dismissed an application moved by senior counsel Shahid Hamid on behalf of Abdul Ghani Majeed demanding access to his counsel. Mr Majeed, along with his father Khawaja Anwar Majeed, chairman of the Omni Group of Companies, was arrested by the FIA on the Supreme Court premises on Aug 15.
The counsel said the life of his client was in danger because Ghani Majeed had been suffering from severe rectum bleeding since Aug 19 and doctors had advised immediate medical attention which was only available in hospital. Subsequently, Ghani Majeed was hospitalised and his health was now stable, he said, wondering why a 45-year-old man suffered from excessive rectum bleeding.
The chief justice, however, dismissed the impression that Ghani Majeed might have been tortured and said he must be suffering from piles. “Usually, all hell breaks loose whenever a big shot falls ill,” observed the chief justice, while rejecting the application.
FIA’s latest report
The FIA in a fresh report informed the court that during investigations it transpired that both Anwar Majeed and his son Ghani Majeed also operated a foreign company — Kam Crown International Trading House Company LLC Dubai. The licence of the company is in the names of Nazli Majid, wife of Anwar Majeed, Noor Nimr Majeed and Menahel Majeed, wife of Ghani Majeed.
Two foreign bank statements of Kam Crown, maintained at Habib Bank Zurich, Dubai, and Emirates NBD, Dubai, were also recovered during a search of the office of Ghani Majeed on Aug 20. The report stated that payments were made from these accounts to the UK (personal/family accounts of Anwar Majeed and Ghani Majeed) for the purchase of properties in the UAE and Britain.
Kam Crown received funds from Hopeway General Trading, Azhar Mobile, Azhar Technical Trading LLC, Tanveer Mansoor Trading, etc, through foreign transfers, which were subsequently transferred for subscription of right shares of the Summit Bank. The transfer of amounts from the foreign accounts of Kam Crown and withdrawal of huge cash from fake accounts (Summit Bank, UBL and Sindh Bank) in same days created suspicion that capital has flown out of Pakistan via illegal route of hawala/hundi, according to the report.
The UAE government, the report said, would be asked through the proper channels to provide details of the nature of business of Kam Crown and its import/export details.
The report said Ghani Majeed had only identified Muhammad Umair as employee of the Omni Group and refused to recognise other account holders. He said that Umair and Arif Khan also worked for Aslam Masood.
Ghani Majeed also said that he had business relations with Younus Kodvavi, who is also director of the Rubicon Builders and Developers (Pvt) Ltd. Ghani Majeed also admitted, according to the report, that he developed links with Haji Haroon of the H and H Exchange Company for illegal purchase of dollars equivalent to Rs80-100 million. The report said the accused were given ample opportunity to produce evidence in their defence regarding deposit of Rs3.1m and withdrawal of Rs4bn in 29 suspicious fake accounts.
During investigations, two more new companies of the Omni Group surfaced — Anaoud Gas Ltd, which has transactions with one of the fake accounts i.e. Umair Associates, and Platinum LPG. During the course of investigation, reliable information was received that important documentary evidence pertaining to the instant case and inquiries could be secured from Khoski Sugar Mills in Badin. Accordingly, a raid was conducted on the mill. During the search, it was found that the record was burnt beforehand of which a few samples were also seized, though some hard disks, along with virtual storage area network, backup devices, Kalashnikovs and four semi-automatic rifles were seized, the report said.
Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2018