|FIA bails out Moonis; SC for no further action|
20 July 2012
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to submit a comprehensive report pertaining to the recovery of Rs420 million from Mohsin Warraich in the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam besides informing the court regarding prompt action being taken against the accused involved in the matter.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and comprising Justice Jawad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, heard a suo moto case regarding violation of the Public Procurement Rules 2004 and the loss of billions of rupees to the public exchequer caused by National Insurance Company Ltd (NICL).
During the hearing, the chief justice remarked that this is national wealth and it would not be put in the pockets of anyone.The court in view of the investigation report submitted by the FIA, called for no further action into the alleged money laundering case against Moonis Elahi in the NICL scam.
Azam Khan, Director Legal, while submitting the investigation report, stated that the FIA could not establish any criminal proceeds into the bank accounts of Moonis Elahi and his spouse.He informed the court that the investigation team probing the money laundering allegations, could not establish anything illegal in the two accounts of Moonis Elahi, one in Pakistan and the other in the UK.
He submitted that Moonis had about 1.1 million pounds in the UK account whereas remittances of 90 million took place through PFG bank in the UK. Azam Khan also read out contents of the report regarding correspondence with the Serious Organised Crimes Agency (SOCA) in the UK and Interpol.
The chief justice, however, observed that the FIA should exercise extra care while proceeding in such cases as the people had their private businesses and they could not go into it. He said the FIA by backing out of its stance before the SOCA for want of evidence had caused damage to Moonis.
Referring to foreign remittances, the chief justice said that such transactions could not be questioned rather it should be encouraged to strengthen country’s economy and referred to the Economic Reforms Act of 1998.
Director Legal FIA Azam Khan, while giving details about the recovery of Rs420 million from Mohsin Warraich, informed the court that under an agreement between NICL and Akram Warraich, uncle of Mohsin Warraich, property worth the amount was mortgaged under a five year term but the NICL refused to accept it in the trial court.
He submitted that the NICL wanted payment in cash and Akram Warraich paid cheques but the first one bounced, upon which an FIR was lodged on June 20.
On a court query, Azam Khan replied that the agreement was not in accordance with the law. The chief justice while expressing displeasure questioned why the progress in the case was lingering on.
“Is it a fit case to proceed against your DG Lahore?” the CJ asked Azam, adding why Waqar Haider is still sitting on the post of DG FIA Lahore. The chief justice further observed that Rs420 million is not a small amount.Justice Jawad S Khawaja observed that their only concern is why the state agency is indulging to accommodate the accused person in the case.
Azam Khan, while referring to the extradition of Mohsin Warraich, informed the court that he was still an absconder, adding that the FIA had issued Red Warrants but the Government of Pakistan had no extradition treaty with the UK.
The chief justice told him that by cancelling his passport, he would be automatically deported to Pakistan.Appearing on notice, Owais Ahmed, counsel for Mohsin Warraich, submitted before the court that he had talked to his client and he was willing to return.
“He should come to Pakistan and surrender before law and ensured return of the remaining amount,” the CJ told the counsel.Meanwhile, the court repeated notices to Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, former Secretary Establishment Division and others in contempt issue regarding transfer of former additional director Zafar Ahmed Qureshi.
The court also re-issued notices to the respondents in the light of the judicial inquiry commission report released by Justice (retd) Ghulam Rabbani who was heading the commission. Later, the court adjourned the hearing for three weeks.
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