Monday Jan 07, 2019
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to initiate a fresh inquiry into the mega money laundering and fake bank accounts case.
A three-judge bench headed by the chief justice instructed the anti-corruption watchdog to take over the probe, as it resumed hearing the multi-billion money laundering and fake accounts case.
The apex court ordered NAB to investigate the case in light of a report recently submitted by a joint investigation team probing the matter, and to complete its investigation within two months.
"NAB can probe Bilawal and CM Shah independently. If after the investigation a reference can be formed, then it should be filed,” Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar observed.
The bench further asked the accountability bureau to summon whoever it wishes, and instructed the JIT to continue its own probe in the meantime.
Earlier during today’s hearing, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar ordered that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah's names be removed from the JIT report and the Exit Control List (ECL).
Expressing annoyance at the inclusion of Bilawal and Shah’s names in the JIT report and no-fly list, the top judge asked the JIT counsel why their names had been included in the report.
"How does being a shareholder prove that Bilawal is part of a scandal?" the chief justice questioned. "His [Bilawal's] father and paternal aunt were running the businesses. In this moment, Bilawal is clean and innocent. Why has his name been included?"
"Bilawal is taking forward his mother's political inheritance," Justice Nisar remarked.
The Federal Investigation Agency is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and Talpur. Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested in July in connection with the probe.
The former president’s other close aide and Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed a close aide and Omni Group chairman and his son, Abdul Ghani, were arrested by FIA in August.
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.