SC orders NAB to arrest NICL scam accused within two weeks

The Nation

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to arrest Mohsin Habib Warraich, the primary accused in billions of rupees National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam, within two weeks.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed also ordered the accountability watchdog to submit a report after execution of orders pertaining to arrest.

The bench was hearing a case pertaining to alleged corruption of billions of rupees in National Insurance Company Limited (NICL).

On the last date of hearing, the bench had strictly ordered Habib to appear before the court. However, during the instant proceedings, he did not show up in the court in defiance of the top court’s order. Justice Ahmed expressed displeasure at NAB’s failure for not arresting Habib. He said that the accused person had appeared before the NAB and the Bureau served him with tea and biscuits and spared him despite court’s orders.

In addition, member of the bench Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that Habib fled despite his name is placed on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Justice Ahmed questioned as to what is guarantee that the accused person would not flee again.

NAB’s Prosecutor General Syed Asghar Haider responded that Habib’s departure record would be sought from the authorities concerned.

Justice Ahsan observed that there can be no record of fleeing the country through boat.

During the proceedings, NAB’s prosecutor general further informed the bench that Habib in connivance sold the land on higher rates adding that another accused person in the scam namely Ayaz Niazi has been convicted and awarded sentence.

Rs4.4 million are yet to be recovered from Niazi, the former NICL Chairman.

On March 6, the bench had directed Habib to appear before the bench in-person. Prosecutor General NAB had also been directed to appear before the bench to explain and justify as to why Habib has not been arrested.

The bench had further ordered accountability watchdog to submit report duly signed by Chairman NAB Justice (Retd) Javed Iqbal.

On the last date of hearing, the bench had expressed serious concerns on the operations of NAB and questioned whether the accountability watchdog is accountable to anyone.
Grilling NAB prosecutor, the bench had asked why the accountability watchdog wants that its chairman be summoned again and again adding that NAB fears to touch the influential people who have been moving freely despite looting the exchequer while the accountability watchdog is after insignificant people.

“Is there any institution to look-over the matters pertaining to NAB,” Justice Ahmed had said adding, “who will conduct the audit of NAB?”

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had been investigating the scam. However, the matter was transferred to NAB on the directives of top court.

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