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33 more suspicious accounts uncovered by JIT

24 September, 2018

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Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Additional Director General Economic Crime Wing Ehsan Sadiq on Monday told the Supreme Court (SC) that a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) — constituted by the apex court in the fake accounts case — has uncovered 33 more suspicious accounts.

An FIA JIT had been investigating a 2015 case regarding fake accounts and fictitious transactions conducted through 29 ‘benami’ accounts in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and UBL.

Seven individuals, including PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur, were said to be involved in using those accounts for suspicious transactions. The accounts were allegedly used to channel funds received through kickbacks.

While hearing a suo motu case regarding a delay in the FIA probe into the case, the SC had constituted a JIT to probe into the matter.

Sadiq, who is heading the JIT, submitted a report in court today which revealed that 29 suspicious accounts had been scrutinised again, and during the investigation, 33 more suspicious accounts had been uncovered, which are now being investigated. Additionally, 210 companies were also found with alleged links to the case, the report added.

The report said that 47 of these companies were associated with the Omni Group. The Omni Group also owns 16 sugar mills, the report said, adding that 334 people are allegedly involved in the transactions.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar remarked that attempts had been made to show large amounts of stolen money as legally obtained wealth.

The CJP, upon inquiring about the whereabouts of the Omni Group accountant Mr Arif, was informed that he was currently out of the country but the JIT had approached Interpol to bring him and others at large back to the country.

CJP Nisar then turned to the counsel of the Omni Group, Shahid Hamid, and directed him to sell off a house owned by the group to pay for the JIT's expenditures. The lawyer said that all the assets and bank accounts of the group had been frozen.

The lawyer told the chief justice that the group had already filed a plea in a special court seeking liquidation of the assets and accounts. Justice Nisar observed that the apex court could regulate a special court. Subsequently, the SC under Article 184 of the Constitution barred the special court from issuing any order pertaining to the case without informing the apex court.

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