KARACHI: A district court directed Shoaib Ahmed Sheikh, Axact’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), on Wednesday to ensure his attendance during the hearing of a money laundering case on a daily basis in the light of directives given by the Supreme Court.

The Axact CEO has been charged with transferring Rs170.17 million to a Dubai-based company in April 2014. Mohammad Younis and Mohammad Junaid, directors of Chanda Exchange Company, have also been charged in the case.

Younis and Junaid appeared before the court of the additional district and sessions judge-IX (south) on Wednesday, but Shoaib Shaikh did not.

Defence counsel Shaukat Hayat informed the court that Shoaib Shaikh could not attend the hearing since he was busy in Islamabad and pleaded to exempt him from appearance for one day.

Judge Hifzur Rehman observed that the Supreme Court had directed the trial court to conduct hearing of the case on a daily basis. Fixing the matter on Nov 27, the judge directed the Axact CEO to ensure his appearance on that date.

It also summoned witnesses on the day to record their testimonies in the case.

Fake degrees case

The additional district and sessions judge (south) sought a copy of the law ministry’s notification purportedly allowing the Federal Investigation Agency to engage private lawyers as special public prosecutors to represent it in courts.

When judge Sarah Junejo took up a case pertaining to running of a fake degree mill, the defence counsel for the Axact CEO and his wife Ayesha Shaikh, objected to engagement of Riaz Phulpoto, a private lawyer, to represent the Federal Investigation Agency in the case as special public prosecutor.

He recalled that the Supreme Court had already ruled that the FIA had no authority to hire private lawyers as it had its own prosecution department and prosecutors.

The counsel pleaded with the court to restrain Mr Phulpoto from representing the prosecution.

Mr Phulpoto, however, argued that the law ministry had engaged him to represent the prosecution through an official notification.

The judge observed that the apex court had given clear directives to the trial court to decide the matter within six weeks and asked the prosecutor to produce a copy of the notification cited by him on Nov 20, the next date of hearing. It also summoned two prosecution witnesses, a judicial magistrate and the investigating officer, to record their testimonies that day.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2018

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