NICL’s former chief arrested in mega land scam

ISLAMABAD: National Insurance Corporation Ltd former chairperson Ayaz Khan Niazi was arrested Sunday after the Supreme Court’s directions in the mega land scam case, Geo News reported.

The NICL scandal pertains to financial embezzlement by Niazi, then commerce minister (late) Makhdoom Amin Fahim and several others in purchase of official land. Hearing the case related to non-implementation of the court’s verdict in the NICL scam from five years ago, a two-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Mushir Alam directed the accountability courts of Lahore and Karachi to decide the case in two months. The court also ordered the immediate arrest of Mohsin Habib Warraich, the other primary accused in the case. During the hearing, the chief justice observed that Niazi lives in a two kanal house while his cars are also not registered in his name. Chief Justice also directed the authorities to deal with Niazi as per the law. At present, Niazi was on bail in the cases filed against him. However, with the investigation of the case being transferred from the FIA to the, the bails stood cancelled.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had directed NAB to submit a progress report on the steps taken to implement its 2013 judgment in the NICL case. The top court had wondered why Niazi and Warraich had not been arrested yet. The court had then served notices on Niazi, directed NAB to provide record of his bail and explain why the case against them had not proceeded anywhere.

The 2013 Supreme Court verdict had held that Niazi was appointed as the head of NICL in violation of rules and directed NAB investigations against several top bureaucrats and politicians of the country.

In November last year, Niazi was identified in the leaked Paradise Papers records in connection with four offshore holdings in the British Virgin Islands. One of them was a trust, Andalusian Discretionary Trust, while the other three were set up as companies: Andalusian Establishment Ltd, Andalusian Enterprises Ltd and Andalusian Holdings Ltd.

All the three companies were set up in 2010 when Niazi was the NICL chief. In the record, however, Niazi’s two brothers, Hussain Khan Niazi and Muhammad Ali Khan Niazi, were shown as the beneficial owners, whereas Ayaz along with his father Abdul Razzaq Khan and mother Fauzia Razzaq acted as directors.

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