ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court announced names of six members of a joint investigation team (JIT) that will probe alleged money laundering worth Rs35 billion from fake bank accounts.
“We constitute the following JIT for the purpose of conducting a thorough, in depth and incisive investigation and probe into the matter of fake bank accounts subject matter of these proceedings to get to the truth, uncover the persons involved and collect all material evidence for the purpose of ensuring that in case an offence is made out, the persons involved therein are properly prosecuted,” the apex court said in its verdict.
The members of the JIT include:
1. Ahsan Sadiq, Additional Director General (Economic Crime Wing), FIA Headquarters, Islamabad.
2. Imran Latif Minhas, Commissioner-IR (Corporate Zone), Regional Tax Office, Islamabad.
3. Majid Hussain, Joint Director BID-I, State Bank of Pakistan, Islamabad.
4. Noman Aslam, Director, National Accountability Bureau, Islamabad.
5. Mohammad Afzal, Director, Specialised Companies Division, Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Islamabad.
6. Brigadier Shahid Parvez of Inter-Services Intelligence.
The apex court directed the JIT to set up its secretariat at a place convenient to it. It said the investigation team will have all powers relating to inquiries and investigations including those available in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1908; National Accountability Ordinance, Human Rights Case No.39216-G of 2018 9 1999; Federal Investigation Agency Act, 1974 and the Anti-Corruption Laws, etc.
All executive authorities or agencies in the country were directed to render assistance and provide support to the JIT in its working, if required.
The court directed the JIT to submit periodic reports on the progress made in the investigation on fortnightly basis under sealed cover for the court’s examination.
The additional director general of the FIA, who shall head the JIT, may co-opt any other expert who may in his opinion be necessary to complete the investigation in an effective and timely manner, the court said in its verdict, adding that first report be filed within a period of 15 days.
The FIA is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and his sister Faryal 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 and his son, Abdul Ghani, were also arrested by the FIA last month.
A day earlier, the Supreme Court had ordered the formation of JIT to probe into the case.
During the hearing, former president Asif Zardari’s counsel, Aitzaz Ahsan, Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed’s counsel, Shahid Hamid, and Director General Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Bashir Memon had appeared before the court.
Zardari and Majeed’s counsels had presented their arguments against the formation of the JIT.
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.