Sunday, September 26, 2021

NICL scam: SC orders NAB to arrest key accused within two weeks

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to arrest a key accused, Mohsin Habib, in the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam within two weeks, ARY News reported.

Headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed, an apex court bench directed the bureau to submit a compliance report on the next hearing.

Expressing displeasure over the bureau’s failure to arrest the accused, Justice Gulzar said Moshin Habib had turned up before the corruption watchdog but he was let go after being served tea and biscuits.

“Mohsin Habib fled [the country] despite his name being in the Exit Control List,” observed Justice Ejazul Ahsan, a member of the bench.

The NAB prosecutor said the bureau would obtain record about Mohsin Habib’s departure from the authorities concerned.

Upon this, Justice Ahsan remarked there doesn’t exist the record of a person who flees by way of a boat.

The prosecutor informed the judges that the accused bought costly land in collusion with other government functionaries, causing a huge loss to the government exchequer, adding another key accused Ayaz Niazi had already been awarded punishment. An amount of Rs4.40 million was yet to be recovered from Niazi, he said

In the previous hearing, the bureau had earned the ire of the judges over its tackling of the scam.

Read More: Supreme Court blasts NAB over its tackling of NICL corruption case

“What is the problem of NAB,” Justice Gulzar asked. “Everything is wrong in NAB. They fear to tackle the influential people. Is there some institution to made the NAB accountable”, the Justice asked.

The counsel of Habib informed the bench that his client was presently in Lahore.

The bench summoned Mohsin Habib and the NAB prosecutor in the next hearing of the case and adjourned further hearing till next week.

The Scandal

The story of the over Rs six billion NICL scam broke in 2009-10 when Mohsin Warraich’s company, Messrs Privilege, purchased 803 kanals from the NICL at Mauza Toor, Lahore, for a sum of Rs1.68b. The company allegedly sold the land without getting the property mutated in its favour.

The NICL also sold land measuring 20 kanals near the Lahore Airport Road to Mohsin Warraich for Rs1.7b. It sold the land at a rate of Rs5.3 million per kanal, although its market value was much higher.

Initially the scam was being investigated by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), but it was transferred to NAB in 2014 on the directives of the Supreme Court.

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