Former NICL chairman Ayaz Niazi arrested

Daily Times

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Sunday arrested former National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) chairman Ayaz Khan Niazi after the Supreme Court held that Niazi should be dealt with according to the law.

A two-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing a suo motu case pertaining to implementation of its (SC’s) 2010 verdict in multi billion NICL corruption scam.

As the hearing went underway, NAB Additional Prosecutor General Akbar Tarar told the court that Ayaz was granted bail by the special judge central Karachi, and not by accountability courts in Lahore and Karachi where corruption references against him had been pending since 2014.

The CJP then directed the accountability courts to decide the cases against Ayaz and others in two months. He also ordered NAB to arrest Mohsin Habib Warriach.

The chief justice regretted that why the references against the accused could not be decided and what NAB had been doing and why not it had presented its witnesses.

The NAB prosecutor stated that Mohsin Warriach was still an absconder. The chief justice noted that they had recovered former SSP Malir Rao Anwar, then why NAB could not arrest Moshin Warraich if he was residing in Pakistan. He noted that the NICL former chairman had properties in Lahore, Karachi and Dubai.

Akbar Tarar stated that Niazi had purchased 20 kanals on Airport Road Lahore at Rs 1.06 billion, 10 acres in Korangi at Rs 900 million and an apartment in Dubai.

He said that references had been filed in an accountability court against 10 people, including Ayaz Niazi, while before accountability court, Karachi, there were 13 accused, including former federal minister for commerce late Makhdom Ameen Fahim, Commerce Secretary Salman Ghani and Amin Qasim Dada. He stated that Rs 490million out of Rs 900 million had been recovered in Karachi land scam.

Ayaz told the court that he had been living in Lahore in a two-kanal house and has had a car. The chief justice then told him that he knew about his (Niazi’s) luxury house and three expensive cars, adding he would not allow anyone to siphon off Pakistan national wealth. “You would have to be accountable for each penny that you embezzled from the NICL funds,” the chief justice asked Niazi.

Earlier, Ayaz stated that he was a banker and had done BBA in economic and finance. He said he was a senior director in Standard Chartered Dubai. The chief justice asked him if he had opened a casino or a hotel in Dubai. However, he denied.

The chief justice asked him what relation he had had with PPP leader Makhdom Ameen Fahim. Ayaz then stated that he had returned to Pakistan in February 2009 and had submitted his CV to the Ministry of Commerce and the then secretary of the ministry had interviewed him.

More than Rs 6 billion NICL scam surfaced in 2009-10 when Mohsin Warraich’s company, Messrs Privilege, purchased 803 kanals from the NICL in Lahore for Rs 1.68 billion. The NICL sold the land measuring 20 kanal on the Lahore Airport Road to Mohsin Warraich for Rs 1.7 billion. It sold the land at the rate of Rs 5.3 million per kanal although its market value was much higher.

Later, former CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry took suo motu notice of the scam and handed down a verdict, which was still awaiting implementation.

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