Sunday, November 27, 2022

Money-laundering: SC seeks details of fake bank accounts

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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director general, Bashir Memon, on Monday asked the Supreme Court to constitute a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe a money-laundering scam involving alleged transaction of Rs 35 billion into suspicious accounts, including the one owned by PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur. 

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, who was heading a bench of the apex court, summoned the chairman of the Omni Group on next hearing. He sought from the FIA a report, spelling out details of the 29 bank accounts named in the scandal.

The FIA head gave a proposal that a JIT be constituted to investigate the matter thoroughly. At which, the CJP asked if he wanted a JIT similar to the one constituted to probe former premier Nawaz Sharif’s wealth.

Advocate Farooq H Naek, representing the PPP leaders, submitted that an impression was being created that his clients were involved in money-laundering, which was negatively impacting their credibility abroad.

At this, Justice Nisar told him to discuss law points involved in the case instead of talking about impression. “Impression about Pakistan changes every day,” he observed.

The counsel said the case is under investigation since 2003. How much amount was funneled through transactions and whether anyone was found guilty or not, he asked.

The FIA summoned the PPP leaders on July 25 and declared them fugitives, he said and questioned how can they be absconders. “It’s a pre-poll rigging.”

When a member of the bench asked if the court should stay the probe into the scam, he answered in the negative.

He said it remains to be seen whether the money in question was laundered or not. “My clients don’t desire that the probe be stopped, but they are summoned daily with an intention to coerce them into accepting the guilt.”

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