NICL case: SC orders investigation against Amin Faheem
25 May, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Hearing the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) case, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed Commerce Secretary Zafar Mehmood and the Karachi Circle FIA director to examine illegal transfer of public money to the accounts of Federal Trade Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim and his relatives.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, also ordered the commerce secretary and the FIA director to probe the hiring of NICL Chairman Ayaz Khan Niazi when the scandal came to limelight.
The court reprimanded both the officials and directed them to follow the set procedure of investigation and precedent set by the various judgements of the apex court, particularly the recent one in the case of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) Chairman Tauqeer Sadiq's appointment.
The court also directed the FIA to examine the criminal aspects of Niazi's appointment.
The court was informed that Salman Ghani was the commerce secretary at that time and now he had retired. The court noted that it was not only the responsibility of the secretary but the person who held the highest post of a ministry, which is minister.
The chief justice remarked, "The appointment of a person contrary to the law does not constitute warrant of criminal negligence. It was illegal appointment under Section 12 of Pakistan Insurance Ordinance 2000 as it caused considerable loss to the public exchequer."
The chief justice questioned if the prime minister could be penalised for not fulfilling his responsibility then why spare a minister. The court also issued notices to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) chairman, both incumbent and the former, who approved the appointment of Niazi.
During the hearing, the FIA director told the court that Rs 40 million was given to Makhdoom Amin Fahim, his son Jaliluz Zaman and wife Rizwana Amin for settlement of their debts to a bank. He, however, said that Amin Fahim returned the money to Khawaja Akbar Butt, who happened to be a front man of one of the main accused of the NICL scandal, Zafar Saleemi, and the FIA did redeposit the same money in the Commerce Ministry.
Moazam Jah, the FIA director, informed the court that he investigated the case pertaining to illegality/irregularities in purchase of property by NICL in Dubai and also some of the purchases from Casablanca. He, however, concluded that the deal had been made as per market price, therefore, according to him no evidence of criminal case could be made before the court of law. The third transaction involved considerable finance of NICL for purchase of land situated in Karachi. However, he said about Rs 1 billion had been recovered and deposited in the Commerce Ministry. When the court inquired about causing the arrest of the absconders, he said that action under sections 87 and 88 of CrPc and FIA Act had been initiated against them.
The hearing has been adjourned until June 7.