ISLAMABAD: A senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party and former chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Monday said the PPP is considering the issue of giving legal cover to three-year extension of Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, but added that the party had reservations over Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Talking to Dawn after his appearance before the Islamabad High Court in connection with his pre-arrest bail in the Roshan Sindh project case, Mr Shah said the PPP had certain reservations over Prime Minister Khan while it might consider the extension of the army chief.

The PPP leader has applied for pre-arrest bail in the case being investigated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

A two-judge IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani extended the bail till Dec 19.

NAB is investigating complaints of “large-scale” corruption in the Roshan Sindh project initiated by the provincial government for installing solar streetlights across the province.

Earlier, six accused in the case expressed willingness to deposit Rs75 million under plea bargain. The accused, including Aslam Pervez, Abdur Rasheed Channa, Zafar Enterprises, Aziz Tehseen Baleedo, and Abid Arain, expressed willingness to enter into a plea bargain deal with NAB.

The Sindh government had on Sept 22, 2014, approved the first project of Roshan Sindh for installing 20,000 solar lights by June 2016 in major municipal and town committees across the province at a cost of Rs4 billion.

Reference filed against Omni Group

NAB on Monday filed a reference in the Accountability Court of Islamabad against Omni Group’s chief executive officer Abdul Ghani Majeed, former presidents of Sindh Bank Mohammad Bilal Sheikh and Tariq Ahsan, former president of Summit Bank Hussain Lawai and 16 others for allegedly extending fraudulent finance facilities.

According to a NAB press release, “the reference is being filed against the accused allegedly involved in extending fraudulent finance facilities of Rs1.84 billion to benami companies of Omni Group namely Seracom Stock and Capital (Pvt) Limited, M/s Parkview Stock and Capital and M/s Rubicon Builders and Developers”.

It said that “detailed investigation into the case revealed that a meeting was held among top brass of the Sindh Bank and Summit Bank in 2016 where a plan was chalked out to obtain fraudulent finance facilities in the names of dummy directors [employees of Omni Group and Mohammad Younis Kodwai]”.

According to NAB, the investigation revealed that fraudulent finance facilities were routed through fake bank accounts and injected in the equity of the Summit Bank. It added that “of the total loan of Rs87.19 billion, the Sindh Bank extended finance facilities of Rs29.2 billion to various companies of Omni Group whereas its equity was Rs16 billion and as per the State Bank of Pakistan regulations, it was allowed to extend loans of Rs4 billion to only one group”.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2019