Monday Aug 06 2018

Won't spare anyone if money-laundering proven, CJP warns in fake accounts case

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan on Monday warned no one would be spared if they were found guilty of money laundering, as he resumed hearing a suo motu case concerning an investigation into fictitious transactions worth billions conducted through several mainstream banks via ‘benami’ accounts. 

Former president Asif Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur are among the accused in the case.

Talpur's counsel Farooq H. Naik told the court that a lot of people were being defamed by being named in the probe by the Federal Investigation Agency, and asked the bench to stop the publicity surrounding the case.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar remarked that the court would not support the FIA probe if the agency was accusing people wrongly.

If money laundering was proven then the court would not spare anyone, the chief justice warned. If not proven, then the court would issue a certificate of honesty to the counsel's client, CJP Nisar remarked.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial in his remarks stated that the amount present in the ‘fake’ accounts was black money and had been acquired through theft.

The court then summoned Omni Group of Companies sponsor and Zardari’s close aide Anwar Majeed and his family next Monday, August 13, in connection with the fake bank accounts case.

The FIA is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Asif Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur. Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested last month in connection with the probe.

Over 20 ‘benami’ accounts at some private banks were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made, according to sources. The amount, according to FIA sources, is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions and bribes.

‘Will form Panama-like JIT to probe matter' 

A former employee of a bank told the Supreme Court today that the police was harassing her and her family in connection with the FIA probe into fake bank accounts.

After hearing her allegations, the chief justice expressed his annoyance at the police and remarked that the court will constitute a joint investigation team similar to the one formed to probe the Panama Leaks case against jailed ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

In his remarks to Director-General FIA, CJP Nisar warned that if the agency registered a false case against anyone then the court would take action against it.

We want that whoever is named in the probe joins the investigation and clears their name by themselves, the top judge observed.

The chief justice then ordered Inspector-General Sindh Police Amjad Saleem to submit a report on the harassment incident within two days.

The police chief told the court that action would be taken against any police officers found involved in harassing innocent citizens.