PESHAWAR: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has unearthed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 30 benami accounts from which transactions worth billions of rupees have been made.
FIA’s KP Director Mir Wais Khan told Dawn that most of the benami accounts were traced in the far-off areas of the province like Swat and Besham. “We have recently completed inquiries into the benami accounts and are now going to register FIRs against the account holders.”
The FIA director didn’t reveal the exact amount transected through these accounts, but said different teams had been constituted to probe the fake accounts. He said certain influential personalities had opened bank accounts in the names of their poor servants.
The FIA has launched a countrywide investigation into the benami or fake accounts on the orders of the Supreme Court.
Transactions worth billions of rupees made from the accounts opened in servants’ names
Wais Khan said the benami accounts were mostly opened for money laundering as the amount transected through them had not been used for business purposes.
When asked if any arrest was made, he said that after the registration of FIRs action would be taken against those involved in illegal transaction.
Of the 30 benami accounts traced, he said, transaction of large sum of money had taken place in 17 accounts.
DawnNews quoted FIA Deputy Director Tariq Pervez as saying that transactions worth Rs10 billion had been made from these accounts. He said the accounts were in the names of eight domestic workers who usually earned Rs12,000-Rs15,000 per month, adding that these accounts were opened in banks located in Buner, Kalam, Swat and Basham.
An official said that some of these poor servants were even not aware about the opening of such accounts in their names. He said raids were conducted on different premises, including a residence in Peshawar cantonment, adding that during the raids certain documents were recovered which led the investigators to trace different fake or benami accounts.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had in July ordered freezing of certain fake bank accounts.
A few weeks ago, the FIA had launched a crackdown on currency dealers in Peshawar’s Yadgar Chowk and Karkhano market and arrested 44 people involved in hundi and hawala business. They were detained under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance.
However, the Peshawar High Court had suspended the orders of their detention issued by Peshawar deputy commissioner under the MPO on Sep 19 and directed the detainees to submit two surety bonds of Rs 200,000 each.
The FIA had claimed that it had recovered currencies of several foreign countries worth around Rs25 million from these dealers during the crackdown launched to meet the requirement of the Financial Action Task Force that had placed Pakistan on its grey list for terror financing.
Published in Dawn, November 5th, 2018