Rs10m special grant for FIA to probe fake accounts scam

The Nation

ISLAMABAD – The Ministry of Finance has agreed for a special supplementary grant of Rs10 million for Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to investigate the money laundering scam amounting to Rs35 billion that involves former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur.
On September 18, the Ministry of Interior through a letter had informed Director General FIA Bashir Ahmed Memon that Finance Division, on his request, had agreed for ‘supplementary grant of Rs10 million in favour of FIA for investigation in the money laundering case” against a demand of Rs20 million for the purpose.
On September 4, the DG FIA in the letter written to the secretary interior had requested for an additional grant of Rs20 million to probe the mega corruption scandal of alleged money laundering. It is not clear that whether FIA at its own would use this supplementary grant or the amount would be transferred to the joint investigation team (JIT) formed by the Supreme Court on September 6 to probe this case.
The Supreme Court on September 6 had formed the JIT to probe the alleged money laundering that was made in connivance with bankers and there are several suspected beneficiaries including Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur.
The SC has appointed FIA’s Additional Director General (Economic Crime Wing) Ehsan Sadiq as the head of the JIT. The other members of the JIT are officials from Inter-Services Intelligence, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, National Accountability Bureau (NAB), State Bank of Pakistan and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
On September 4, FIA in the letter written to secretary interior said that ‘the enquiry entails money laundering of Rs35 billion and is being investigated under the supervision of Supreme Court of Pakistan” through a suo motu case. “Huge volume record related to the case has been collected from State Bank of Pakistan, SECP, FBR, Cane Commissioner, Summit Bank, UBL and Sindh Bank during the course of enquiry and investigation which is under scrutiny.” The letter said that thousands of bank transactions involving billions of rupees were involved in the available record which required proper professionals to pursue the record in order to provide meaningful deductions and conclusions for FIA to prosecute the accused.
The DG FIA maintained that the record obtained from SECP required services of a leading chartered accountant which has record of working on these transactions. He added that FIA intended to hire the services of a professional chartered accountant firm and a prominent law firm dealing with corporate law in order to dig account facts and to submit concrete evidence in the court of law to conclude and prosecute the case on merit. “A total of 29 fake bank accounts are involved in the matter where billions were transacted to and from fake accounts, individuals, companies etc.,” the letter said. The DG stated that these transactions used different modes of transfers such as cash, POs, CDRs, RIGS and online transfers. In such circumstances, the classification of the record and thereafter drawing conclusions from such perusal would require capacities of professionals equipped with such expertise.
The DG FIA told the secretary interior that the case was under hearing of apex court and special emphasis was being put by the court to work out this case and to hold the persons responsible accountable for the laundering of money and finally to ensure the recovery of ill-gotten money. “In this regard, the swift perusal and analysis of case record is important to properly guide the court for onward proceedings,” he stressed. Memon further said that importance of experts became essential for assisting FIA during the course of enquiry, investigation and trial of the court.
“Keeping all above in view, it is requested that an amount of Rs20 million may be allocated to FIA as a special case, so that the agency may be able to hire the services of a chartered accountant, a corporate law firm and other related expenditures, plese,” the letter concluded.

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