SC orders probe against DG FIA -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

SC orders probe against DG FIA

By: Terence J Sigamony And Imran Mukhtar

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered Additional Director General FIA, Zafar Ahmed Qureshi, to arrest Amin Dada, one of the directors of NICL, adding if DG FIA Waseem Ahmed caused any hindrance in this regard then proceed against him as well.

A four-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Muhammad Sair Ali, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday heard the suo moto case regarding violation of Public Procurement Rules, 2004 and thus causing loss of billions of rupees to national exchequer by National Insurance Company Ltd (NICL).

Ch Qamar-uz-Zaman, Secretary Ministry of Interior, placed on record the notification issued on January 24, 2011, by the Government of Pakistan. According to that Capt (Retd) Zafar Ahmed Qureshi, Managing Director National Police Foundation, has been appointed as Additional Director General FIA in addition to his present assignment with immediate effect till further orders to supervise investigation of the NICL case at Lahore.

It is worth mentioning that Zafar Ahmed Qureshi was supervising the investigation but he was abruptly transferred on the pretext that after his promotion in Grade 21 he could not continue to supervise the case as a director.

The court felt that transfer was made with a mala fide intention otherwise by an identical notification, as has now been issued, the authorities could have allowed him to continue with the investigation of an important case, involving a huge public money, which has allegedly been looted.

Zafar Ahmed Qureshi, who was present in the court, apprised of the progress made by him so far in the case. The court inquired him why he was not treating all the accused persons at par because one of the directors of NICL, Amin Qasim Dada, had not been arrested whereas remaining directors had already been taken into custody by the FIA.

Zafar replied despite his best efforts he was not allowed to do so. He told the court that he had gone to Karachi and contacted Moazzam Jah, Director FIA Karachi, regarding the arrest of Amin Qasim Dada, but Moazzam told him that Amin used to sit with DG FIA in his camp office, therefore how he could arrest him.

The director FIA, Karachi, however, informed that 4-5 days before the registration of the case and after the order had already been passed by the Supreme Court, Amin was present with the DG FIA.

The court observed, “Be that as it may, the DG FIA is equally responsible for not causing his arrest. It seems that instead of allowing his Director to make progress in the case, he is providing shelter to the accused persons. The court, therefore, directs the Additional Director General FIA, Zafar Ahmed Qureshi, to take all necessary steps for causing his arrest and if on a further probe he comes to the conclusion that the accused is being given shelter by the DG FIA, he should proceed against the DG too in accordance with law as no one is above the law.”

Zafar explained that all efforts would be made to explore the possibility as to how the government money was taken out of the accounts of the NICL, where the same was spent and in whose accounts the same was deposited. He particularly gave reference of M/S Al-Tahoor Co, whose Manager Abdul Maalik has already been arrested and he had stated during interrogation that the account was opened in Allied Bank Ltd, Airport Road Branch, Lahore, in the name of one Adil Manzoor whose name was used but when Adil Manzoor was interrogated, he stated that he had no knowledge of the same.

According to the statement of Manager Abdul Maalik, Rs 220 million were given to Moonis Elahi. According to him, as progress was being made, in the meanwhile he was transferred and made under orders of DG (Waseem Ahmed) to relinquish the charge immediately. Be that as it may, Zafar Ahmed Qureshi has now again been posted as Additional Director General FIA, therefore he would be supervising investigation of the case pertaining to the persons concerned.

Director Moazzam Jah also gave progress report, but the court declared it unsatisfactory as no step had been taken to arrest the accused, who had left the country. The court noted that no step was taken to recover the amount from the account of Ayaz Khan except making attachment of the property. Neither probe was conducted in the matter thoroughly nor the responsibility was fixed upon the accused persons, and all this indicates that the investigation is not being carried out honestly, fairly and properly, the court further observed. The court, however, gave him another chance to proceed with the matter strictly in accordance with law and submit report on the next date of hearing and adjourned the case till 1st February 2011.

Agencies add: The Supreme Court Tuesday ordered investigations against director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) after he was alleged to have protected an accused in a high-profile financial scam.

The order was issued on the statement of an FIA official that the DG FIA was protecting an accused, Amin Qaim Dada. Director FIA Sindh Moazzam Jah told the court that they could not arrest Amin Dada because when they raided, Waseem Ahmed was with him.

On this, the court ordered immediate arrest of DG FIA. But the investigation officer informed the court that the matter was prior to the registration of the case. The court, then ordered investigation against the top FIA official. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry said that “this is public money and we can’t allow this loot and plunder where high and mighty connive to protect each other.”

The bench ordered Zafar Qureshi to record the statement of Moazzam Jah and the registration of a case against Waseem Ahmed if proven guilty of protecting an accused.

Meanwhile, FIA on Tuesday forwarded a request to the Interior Ministry for placing the names of its DG Waseem Ahmed and PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi on Exit Control List (ECL). However, it is the prerogative of the Interior Ministry to place any person’s name on ECL and it would decide the case.

Additional Director General FIA Zafar Ahmed Qureshi made the request through the acting DG FIA. Zafar Qureshi also confirmed this while talking to a private TV channel.

An official of FIA said that Interior Ministry had been sent a letter on behalf of FIA for placing the name of Waseem Ahmed on ECL after the Supreme Court directed the investigation head to proceed against DG, as he had been alleged for protecting the accused.

Legal experts are of the view that it would be difficult to convict DG under the existing law of protection of a criminal by a person in the light of Moazzam Jah’s statement.

The sources in FIA while denying the media reports about fleeing of Waseem Ahmed abroad informed that he was in Karachi. The sources said that the DG was on 10 days leave from 23rd of January as he had sought leave to attend the graduation ceremony of one of his children in London.
Source: The Nation
Date:1/26/2011