Pakistan

Ex-SECP chief Zafar Hijazi’s plea for acquittal in record tampering case rejected

Zafar Hijazi

ISLAMABAD: A special court of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Friday dismissed an application of former Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) chairman Zafar Hijazi  seeking his acquittal in a case related to tampering with the record of the Sharif family’s Chaudhry Sugar Mills.

Judge Iram Niazi noted that there was sufficient evidence to proceed against Hijazi in the case. She directed the prosecution side to present its witnesses on next hearing to record their testimonies.

The hearing was postponed till November 29.

Hijazi through his lawyer had moved the application under section 265-k of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP) before the special court seeking his acquittal over lack of evidence.

On Oct 27, the court had framed charges against the accused, which he denied and maintained that he did not alter the company’s record.

The former SECP chairman, who is out on bail, has been booked in the case in the wake of the Supreme Court’s order in the Panama Papers case for allegedly tampering with financial records of the Sharif family’s company.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) took Hijazi into custody in July, after a report released by the Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) alleged that the former SECP chairman had altered records related to the Chaudhry Sugar Mills.

It found chairman SECP Zafar Hijazi guilty of record tampering and recommended criminal proceedings against him and two of his subordinates – Ali Azeem and Maheen Fatima – under Section  466, 472, PPC read with 5(2) Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) 1947.

SECP Director Maheen Fatima had accused the SECP chairman of exerting pressure on her to blame the Panamagate JIT of misbehaving with her during an interrogation session.

In her statement to the probing team, she asserted that the money laundering investigation against Chaudhry Sugar Mills was closed on the chairman’s directives.

The director had further accused the chairman of threatening her with dire consequences including transfer to Gilgit-Baltistan on defiance of his orders.

The Panamagate JIT had previously complained to the top court that SECP had allegedly tampered with the record, apparently to favour the Sharif family who owns the Chaudhry Sugar Mills.

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