FIA may lose NICL case due to weak prosecution -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

FIA may lose NICL case due to weak prosecution

Aftab Maken

ISLAMABAD: Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Thursday informed the National Assembly Standing Committee on Commerce that they have traced out kickbacks along with their receivers in a multibillion rupees NICL land purchase scam and are actively pursuing the front men to deposit all the commission in NICL account.

The FIA team also informed the committee that the jailed NICL ex-chairman, Ayaz Khan Niazi, has no connection in receiving any commission or kickbacks in any of land purchase whereas Makhdoom Amin Fahim or none of the members of his family were directly involved in the NICL scam but their manager, Ali Hassan, having power of attorney for Makhdoom’s family, received amount from Khajwa Akbar Butt.

The FIA’s working of unearthing the real culprits behind NICL scam is totally different, as FIA Lahore, lead by Zafar Qureshi, has traced out the ultimate beneficiary of this deal, while FIA Karachi has only ceased the accounts of front men and did not tighten the noose against the real culprits.

Additional Director FIA, Lahore, Zafar Qureshi informed the committee, chaired by Eng Khurram Dastgir, that the Agency has traced out the banking accounts which have received commission in purchasing 20 Kanal land at Lahore Airport Road where Nespak evaluated an extra amount of Rs500 million deposited in various accounts belong to Moonis Elahi’s family.

Of this Rs500 million, Qureshi further said, an amount of Rs80 million has already been deposited by Habib Warriach while the remaining Rs420 million has been traced out in various fake accounts belonging to the employees of Moonis Elahi. Giving the details of said amount, the FIA additional director said that an amount of Rs220 million was transferred in the account of Adil Traders and then transferred to Mohammad Malik while an amount of Rs100 was deposited in the fake account of Khadim Ali.

Beside these transfers to the mangers of Moonis Elahi, Qureshi further said, an amount of Rs150 million was transferred to EFG – a UK based bank – in Moonis Elahi’s account whereas Mr Munaf transferred an amount of Rs100 million in the account of Moonis Elahi’s wife in ABL, Liberty Market, Lahore, and an amount of Rs60 million later on in the same account, and Rs50 million to the personal account of Moonis Elahi in ABL, Lahore.

All these transfers were then transferred from the ABL to Meezan Bank, then to Albraka and finally to Agro Tractor who is owned by Moonis Elahi, he added. To a question of Kashmala Tariq that FIA’s criminal record has been tempered, Zafar Qureshi simply refused to comment on the issue. However, he brought in the notice of the committee that FIA’s prosecutor in NICL case are not competent enough and feared that the Agency will lose the case in the absence of a competent lawyer.

FIA Deputy Director Altaf Hussain also informed the committee that Nespak’s evaluation has pointed out a difference of Rs487 million in Karachi purchase deal and it has ceased accounts of various front men having cash of Rs356 million while the remaining Rs131 million has yet to be traced out.

Of this Rs356 million, the FIA deputy director further informed the committee, an amount of Rs120 million has been ceased in the account of Khawja Akbar Butt, Rs120 million in the account of of Ahsan Iqbal, and Rs110 million in the account of late Zafar Saleem.

Khawja Akbar Butt was front man of NICL ex-Chairman Ayaz Khan Niazi in Karachi purchase deal while his brother Siddique Butt was employed in NICL Lahore office with a condition that he would ensure the commission in Lahore land purchases, he added.

To a question of Najma Hameed that Ayaz Niazi is using official residence and vehicle of the NICL, NICL acting Chairman Tariq Puri informed the committee, “Yes, Mr Niazi is living in the same residence when he was NICL chairman but NICL is not paying the rent whereas NICL has no place for parking of vehicles that is main reason that some vehicles are parked in the rest house which is in possession of Mr Niazi.”

About the query of Hamid Yar Hiraj of current portfolio status of NICL, Tariq Puri informed the committee that NICL has invested Rs10 billion in treasury bills yielding Rs1.2 billion at the rate of 13.5 percent and pended all the claims except Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM).

The committee also expressed its dissatisfaction over FIA’s slow pace of inquiry on Dubai property purchases.On another agenda item of the meeting that relates to collection of charges on Nato and ISAF transit goods, Secretary Commerce Zafar Mehmud informed the committee, “The government is not collecting any special charges on goods imported by Nato or ISAF to Afghanistan.” However, trucks of both sides have reciprocal treatments, he added.

Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), in a written reply to the committee, said, “FBR does not generate any kind of revenue from Nato/ISAF transit goods. The report/figures, in this regard, may therefore, be treated as NIL, however, vide the Finance Act 2011, an enabling provision for collection of transit fee on any goods or class of goods in transit across Pakistan has been introduced in the Custom Act 1969. The same could be contemplated, as the grant of transit facility has increased custom facilitation and allied operations manifold, to provide self-sustaining infrastructure and services at custom stations and en-route.”

Murtaza Javed Abbasi, the mover of question on revenue collection from Nato/ISAF upon utilising the roads of NHA, also requested the committee that Nato/ISAF transit goods should be stopped in the national interest because it is not “trade”.

Khurram Dastgir, chairman of the committee, also informed the meeting that Nato/ISAF transit goods to Afghanistan is operating only through an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Britain, as being representative of Nato, and the Ministry of Defence. There is no record and no procedure for this shipment of these transit goods but actually it is shipment of massive quantum of weapon to Afghanistan, he feared.

Khurram Dastgir, while concluding the debate on the issue, further said, “As all these Nato/ISAF transit goods are beyond the Constitution and should be brought to the ambit of law, and the Ministry of Defence should have clear direction on the issue.”
Source: The News
Date:8/26/2011