SC asks FIA to justify ECL listings in EOBI scandal
18 September, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought justification from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for placing the names on the Exit Control List (ECL) of a number of owners of different companies and housing societies that had sold properties to the Employees Old-Age Benefits.
The court was hearing the suo motu case of Rs 40 billion EOBI scandal. A three-member bench, headed by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, directed the FIA not to harass any of the owners of different companies and developers who sold their land to EOBI. The court was told on Tuesday that EOBI was not in a position to make up its mind about the fate of its investments in the real estate business with a number of housing societies until a new Board of Trustees (BoT) is appointed.
EOBI Chairman Muhammad Ayub Sheikh told the bench that the existing BoT is non-functional since it is the same body that has been accused of making investments in the property business. He said that unless a new body is appointed, no decision can be taken either to retain or return the properties to the housing societies. It must be noted that the court had on August 28 asked the EOBI to inform it about its plans so that a decision could be taken.
During the hearing on Tuesday, Advocate M Bilal, on behalf of EOBI's chairman, requested the bench to give time for submitting EOBI's business plan. He reiterated that it would only be finalised after BoT's approval. The EOBI chairman further explained that the process of appointing BoT, otherwise a 60-day exercise, had been initiated and after the approval of the prime minister, a new body will be reconstituted.
He said that the EOBI had also initiated a process of soliciting expression of interest (EoI) from solicitors to determine the value of the properties that will help in reaching a conclusive decision. He added that Tuesday was the last date for the pre-qualification of EoI.
Advocate Chaudhry Afrasiab Khan, representing Raja Muhammad Sanaullah and Raja Maqsoodul Haq, complained before the Supreme Court that despite returning a total of over Rs 90 million to the FIA through cheques for the sale of land, the FIA has neither returned the land to them nor had stop harassing them.
He deplored that his clients were being maligned by the media and they needed protection from the court against both the media as well as the FIA. He claimed that because of the negative portrayal of his clients in the media, their reputation in society is at stake. At this, Justice Jamali asked Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti, representing FIA, about the justification of harassment.
Raja Maqsoodul Hassan, said to be the brother of Raja Azeem, son-in-law of former prime minister Raja Parvez Ashraf, was facing allegations of selling a plot measuring eight kanals, located in Moza Kallar Kahar, District Chakwal, for Rs 32 million. Same is the case with the open plot measuring 1.9 kanal located at Chakwal-Talagang Road.
The plot was purchased for Rs 60.4 million from Sanaul Haq, and the registered deed showed the price at Rs 11.7 million. Sanaul Haq is also the brother of Raja Azeem. The plot is also the subject of litigation, a FIA report suggested.