KARACHI: A local accountability court has allowed a request of the anti-graft watchdog seeking freezing of nine bank accounts of two Chinese companies and four individuals for allegedly cheating the public of Rs1.1 billion through fraudulent investment schemes.

In its Nov 2 order, Accountability Judge Court-IV Mukesh Kumar said that suspicious accounts operated in the names of two companies — Gold Transmit Network Technology (Pvt) Ltd and Green Apple Super Market (Pvt) Ltd — and by four Chinese individuals be frozen.

The judge noted that since the companies or suspects had not filed any objection to the court proceedings, therefore the application filed under Section 12(C) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, pleading to ratify the decision of the director general, NAB, Karachi, seeking attachment of these accounts is allowed.

On March 17, the NAB director general issued directives for freezing nine bank accounts used by these companies and individuals to receive “proceeds from the commission of the offences”.

Court allows NAB plea after it emerged over Rs1.1bn deposited in these accounts

The bureau estimated that over Rs1.1bn had so far been transferred to these accounts.

NAB identified the suspects as Chen Jian Yong, Yu Rong Hua, Chen Zhi Wei and Wang Guo Hai. It said the Chinese firms and individuals were maintaining their accounts in four private banks’ branches in Karachi and Lahore.

In January 2019, the anti-corruption watchdog initiated an inquiry on the complaint of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) that had found these firms to be involved in cheating the public at large through Ponzi, pyramid, multi-level marketing (MLM) and other online schemes.

Investigation officer (IO) Ghulam Abbas in his report said that court notices, issued to the suspects on May 17, had been forwarded to the director general (China desk) at the foreign ministry, so that the same could be served on them at their address in the neighbouring country to file objections.

However, no compliance report has been received from the ministry, said the IO, adding that notices had already been served at the accountholders’ addresses in Pakistan.

Therefore, the court ordered the attachment of the suspects’ bank accounts for further investigation.

The SECP had complained that Gold Transmit Network Technology (Pvt) Ltd and Green Apple Super Market (Pvt) Ltd were allegedly illegally raising unauthorised deposits from the general public by launching fraudulent schemes, including referral marketing, MLM, pyramid and Ponzi. They deprived people of their hard-earned money by offering lucrative incentives and hefty amounts, it claimed.

Elaborating on the modus operandi of the suspects and the firms, the National Accountability Bureau said they would ask the public to register with their companies after which they were required to deposit the amount either in the companies’ accounts or in cash at their offices.

Once the amount was received, the companies would provide an ID number to the customers which could be used to log in to the websites and manage an individual profile on the company’s websites, it added.

NAB explained that virtual points were given to the customers against each rupee deposited and those points would increase or decrease as per the changes in the investments. The websites were the prime forum where customers could manage their investments.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2022

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