Looters of money won’t be spared: CJ

SC directs FIA DG to start fresh probe in PSM corruption case; DAG says his hands are tied; Ramday says what should be done is not being done and vice versa; authorities have fears in arresting Riaz Lalji
http://thenews.com.pk/top_story_pics/7-22-2010_30216_l.gif
By Sohail Khan

ISLAMABAD: The
Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the DG FIA to conduct a fresh investigation into the alleged mega corruption of Rs 22 billion in the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and directed him to submit a report before the court after four weeks.

A three-member bench of the apex court, comprising Chief Justice
Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday, was hearing a suo moto case regarding the corruption of Rs 22 billion in the PSM.

“The FIA DG should conduct fresh investigations fairly and justly without causing any harassment, and the present proceedings of the inquiry should not cause any influence and without misusing the orders of the court respectively, “the chief justice said while giving the court’s order at the end of the case proceedings.

During the course of the proceedings,
Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Abid Saqi presented a report stating that the FIA had recovered Rs 8 billion so far, adding that rest of the loss will be ascertained through different corners.

“How much loss caused to the state-owned entity is your sole responsibility to recover, and this is your responsibility to ensure recovery of the money,” the chief justice told the deputy attorney general, adding that huge amount of public exchequer had been looted and the court will not spare anyone who looted the national exchequer.

At one point, Abid Saqi informed the court that their hands were tied and they were facing some hurdles in the investigation process. At this, Justice
Khalilur Rehman Ramday asked the DAG as to who had tied his hands.

Saqi replied nobody had tied their hands and the words just slipped out of his tongue. Justice Ramday said actual words usually slip of tongue. Abid Saqi said that people were afraid of the courts and that’s why progress was not being made. 

“It is ironic that what should be done normally is not being done and what should not be done is being committed,” Justice Ramday said, adding that this was what the government wanted. He further said that if any department was using unfair means due to the court’s fear, then why it was not doing the job honestly. The DAG, however, sought two months’ time for resolving the matter, assuring the court that the matter would be resolved impartially and no injustice would be done to anyone.

Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry said the court had been asking for conducting investigations fairly and no harassment should be caused to anyone. “We do not know whether we should go into any FIRs lodged against anyone but we are interested only in the
rule of law,” the chief justice remarked, adding that in order to achieve the major objective “we are only interested in recovery of the looted money of the state-owned entity, which is the real backbone of the country”.

Khalid Anwar, counsel for Amreli Steels, while arguing before the court, submitted that huge amount of Rs 22 billion had been plundered and it should be recovered. He further submitted that all these criminal losses of Rs22 billion were made in just one year and before that the state-owned entity was making profits. “In one year, we suffered a huge loss of Rs 22 billion,” he contended.

He informed the court that the Amreli Steels had been discriminated against and victimized first by the PSM and then by the FIA.

He said the PSM (in collusion with a favored group) defaulted and stopped all supplies of steel billets to the Amreli Steels from January 2009. He said the Amreli Steels went into a contract on December 28, 2008, with the PSM for supplying 30,000 tons of steel billets to it, to be delivered within 90 days.

The PSM, however, in breach of the contract, supplied zero tons in January 2009, only 220 tons in February 2009 and 2,042 tons in March 2009.

Khalid Anwar said that this supply of steel was diverted to a favorite group or its nominees, whose representative used to sit in the PSM offices daily, directing its officials to allocate its products either to his company or its favoured dealers.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, in his observation, said looters and plunderers of the national exchequer would not be spared at any cost and the law would take its course.

Khalid Anwar contended that the FIA spared people who made huge corruption and netted unimportant people only. He said that an FIR against Riaz Lalji of Abbas Steels had not yet been filed but his employees had been booked. The DAG said that concerned authorities had apprehensions in arresting Riaz Lalji.

Justice Ramday asked the DAG about the people who had been on pre-arrest bail for the last five months. The DAG, however, said that some of the people, including Rasool Bux and Chaudhry Muhammad Shafique, were on pre-arrest bail since February 25.

Meanwhile, the court directed the FIA DG to conduct fresh investigations fairly and justly without causing any harassment to anyone in the case and adjourned the hearing for four weeks.

The Supreme Court had taken suo moto of the case on an article published in the media regarding corruption of Rs 22 billion in the PSM. It was said in the article that the government still does not know the exact losses, as there were varied figures. It’s the PSM management which estimated the concern’s losses at Rs 22 billion. However, the estimate given in the special report of the Auditor General gives a lower figure of Rs 9 billion.

APP adds: During the hearing, the chief justice remarked: “Every person enters into this court and claims that he is innocent but after going through files, at the end of the day, we find that he is not innocent.”

FIA Director Mauzam Jan told the bench that his agency was not involved in making estimates of losses but they had permitted the PSM management and dealers to hold a meeting and make assessment. He said they had arrested Rashid Abro, a local agent who charged one dollar on export of one ton, as commission from foreign companies.

The bench also rejected Rashid Abro’s bail request pleaded by his counsel Raja Qureshi.
Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, counsel for four PSM-paid directors, said that the charge-sheet against his clients had already been filed with a competent court and he was ready to face the charges there.

Online adds: The chief Justice observed the FIA DG had been directed to supervise the matter in person. Khalid Anwar told the court that the FIA DG had become the real problem as he was apprehending the subordinate staff. His ill intent is involved in the matter. 

“If there is no trust in him, then from where honest officers will be brought,” Justice Ramday remarked. “If the government wants such cases to be closed down, then we close them down. Decisions are not implemented. What can we do,”he further remarked.

 

 

Looters of money won’t be spared: CJ

SC directs FIA DG to start fresh probe in PSM corruption case; DAG says his hands are tied; Ramday says what should be done is not being done and vice versa; authorities have fears in arresting Riaz Lalji
http://thenews.com.pk/top_story_pics/7-22-2010_30216_l.gif
By Sohail Khan

ISLAMABAD: The
Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the DG FIA to conduct a fresh investigation into the alleged mega corruption of Rs 22 billion in the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and directed him to submit a report before the court after four weeks.

A three-member bench of the apex court, comprising Chief Justice
Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday, was hearing a suo moto case regarding the corruption of Rs 22 billion in the PSM.

“The FIA DG should conduct fresh investigations fairly and justly without causing any harassment, and the present proceedings of the inquiry should not cause any influence and without misusing the orders of the court respectively, “the chief justice said while giving the court’s order at the end of the case proceedings.

During the course of the proceedings,
Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Abid Saqi presented a report stating that the FIA had recovered Rs 8 billion so far, adding that rest of the loss will be ascertained through different corners.

“How much loss caused to the state-owned entity is your sole responsibility to recover, and this is your responsibility to ensure recovery of the money,” the chief justice told the deputy attorney general, adding that huge amount of public exchequer had been looted and the court will not spare anyone who looted the national exchequer.

At one point, Abid Saqi informed the court that their hands were tied and they were facing some hurdles in the investigation process. At this, Justice
Khalilur Rehman Ramday asked the DAG as to who had tied his hands.

Saqi replied nobody had tied their hands and the words just slipped out of his tongue. Justice Ramday said actual words usually slip of tongue. Abid Saqi said that people were afraid of the courts and that’s why progress was not being made. 

“It is ironic that what should be done normally is not being done and what should not be done is being committed,” Justice Ramday said, adding that this was what the government wanted. He further said that if any department was using unfair means due to the court’s fear, then why it was not doing the job honestly. The DAG, however, sought two months’ time for resolving the matter, assuring the court that the matter would be resolved impartially and no injustice would be done to anyone.

Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry said the court had been asking for conducting investigations fairly and no harassment should be caused to anyone. “We do not know whether we should go into any FIRs lodged against anyone but we are interested only in the
rule of law,” the chief justice remarked, adding that in order to achieve the major objective “we are only interested in recovery of the looted money of the state-owned entity, which is the real backbone of the country”.

Khalid Anwar, counsel for Amreli Steels, while arguing before the court, submitted that huge amount of Rs 22 billion had been plundered and it should be recovered. He further submitted that all these criminal losses of Rs22 billion were made in just one year and before that the state-owned entity was making profits. “In one year, we suffered a huge loss of Rs 22 billion,” he contended.

He informed the court that the Amreli Steels had been discriminated against and victimized first by the PSM and then by the FIA.

He said the PSM (in collusion with a favored group) defaulted and stopped all supplies of steel billets to the Amreli Steels from January 2009. He said the Amreli Steels went into a contract on December 28, 2008, with the PSM for supplying 30,000 tons of steel billets to it, to be delivered within 90 days.

The PSM, however, in breach of the contract, supplied zero tons in January 2009, only 220 tons in February 2009 and 2,042 tons in March 2009.

Khalid Anwar said that this supply of steel was diverted to a favorite group or its nominees, whose representative used to sit in the PSM offices daily, directing its officials to allocate its products either to his company or its favoured dealers.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, in his observation, said looters and plunderers of the national exchequer would not be spared at any cost and the law would take its course.

Khalid Anwar contended that the FIA spared people who made huge corruption and netted unimportant people only. He said that an FIR against Riaz Lalji of Abbas Steels had not yet been filed but his employees had been booked. The DAG said that concerned authorities had apprehensions in arresting Riaz Lalji.

Justice Ramday asked the DAG about the people who had been on pre-arrest bail for the last five months. The DAG, however, said that some of the people, including Rasool Bux and Chaudhry Muhammad Shafique, were on pre-arrest bail since February 25.

Meanwhile, the court directed the FIA DG to conduct fresh investigations fairly and justly without causing any harassment to anyone in the case and adjourned the hearing for four weeks.

The Supreme Court had taken suo moto of the case on an article published in the media regarding corruption of Rs 22 billion in the PSM. It was said in the article that the government still does not know the exact losses, as there were varied figures. It’s the PSM management which estimated the concern’s losses at Rs 22 billion. However, the estimate given in the special report of the Auditor General gives a lower figure of Rs 9 billion.

APP adds: During the hearing, the chief justice remarked: “Every person enters into this court and claims that he is innocent but after going through files, at the end of the day, we find that he is not innocent.”

FIA Director Mauzam Jan told the bench that his agency was not involved in making estimates of losses but they had permitted the PSM management and dealers to hold a meeting and make assessment. He said they had arrested Rashid Abro, a local agent who charged one dollar on export of one ton, as commission from foreign companies.

The bench also rejected Rashid Abro’s bail request pleaded by his counsel Raja Qureshi.
Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, counsel for four PSM-paid directors, said that the charge-sheet against his clients had already been filed with a competent court and he was ready to face the charges there.

Online adds: The chief Justice observed the FIA DG had been directed to supervise the matter in person. Khalid Anwar told the court that the FIA DG had become the real problem as he was apprehending the subordinate staff. His ill intent is involved in the matter. 

“If there is no trust in him, then from where honest officers will be brought,” Justice Ramday remarked. “If the government wants such cases to be closed down, then we close them down. Decisions are not implemented. What can we do,”he further remarked.