SECP official challenges show-cause notice issued to him

Updated 26 Sep 2020

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The SECP’s Human Resources department has issued show-cause notices to eight employees, including Arslan Zafar, additional director of market surveillance department.  — APP/File
The SECP’s Human Resources department has issued show-cause notices to eight employees, including Arslan Zafar, additional director of market surveillance department. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: An additional director of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) on Friday filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court, challenging the issuance of a show-cause notice to him over leak of data related to the family business of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information retired Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa.

The SECP had on Sept 22 issued show-cause notices to eight officials and warning letters to two others over the leak of data.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah will hear the petition on Saturday (today).

The issue of data leak was raised by Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda at a meeting of the federal cabinet.

Petitioner Arslan Zafar has challenged the composition of the inquiry committee formed to determine his and other officials’ role in the data leak and its report, saying that an official junior to him had been assigned to probe the matter.

Petitioner Arslan says a junior has been assigned to probe the leak of data

The petition says that the inquiry committee did not allow the petitioner to respond to the allegations against him in the mandatory time frame and proceeded in the matter in haste.

It says that the allegations levelled against the petitioner are baseless and based on mere assumptions.

SECP Chairman Amir Khan has reportedly informed the prime minister that show-cause notices have been issued on the basis of a report by a fact-finding committee headed by SECP Commissioner Sadia Khan. He said the final report would be submitted officially after the hearing by the SECP’s commission of the case against the officials who have been issued show-cause notices.

The SECP’s Human Resources department has issued show-cause notices to eight employees, including Arslan Zafar, additional director of market surveillance department.

According to the notice, Mr Zafar is reported to have made unauthorised access to personal information of Asim Bajwa and his family members, including details of their CNICs, in the last week of July. He is accused of violating the SECP HR manual and has been asked to explain the reasons for his act and satisfy the commission over the allegations levelled against him.

Mr Zafar and other respondents have been asked to submit written replies by Sept 29 to the HR department after that hearing will be held at the commission.

Other officials who have been issued show-cause notices are: Zahid Hussain, joint director (JD) of IT department; Hussain Sarosh, deputy director, IT; Mohammad Sohail, assistant joint director, IT; Hammad Ahmed, deputy director, IT; Sadiq Shah, assistant joint director (AJD), Companies Registration Office (CRO); Abil Ali Abid, AJD, CRO; and Syed Jamal Zaidi, AJD, CRO.

They are accused of committing minor violations as per the SECP HR manual, which relates mainly to carelessness, negligence and lack of attention as they have been accused of ignoring the “red flags” witnessed in the system in the second half of July.

Warning letters have been issued to Amir Waheed, director, IT, and Zulfiqar Shams, management executive, CRO, asking them to be careful about any suspicious movement in future.

Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2020