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Azaz Syed
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Sohail Khan
July 11, 2017

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FIA registers case against SECP chairman on SC orders

FIA registers case against SECP chairman on SC orders

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has formally registered a case against Zafar Hijazi, Chairman of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), for allegedly tampering the inquiry record of the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case in his institution.

The News has exclusively obtained a copy of the FIR registered against the chairman of SECP which clearly mentions that the case is being registered on the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and following the approval of Director General of FIA.

The case has been registered under 466 and 471 sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Section 5(2)47 of Prevention of Corruption Act 1947. The sections mentioned in the case are related to forgery of documents and presenting them as real documents, etc. The said sections fall in non-bailable offence. These allegations if proven in the court can lead to the maximum 14 years of imprisonment (or less) and fine or both. In the draft of the FIR, complainant is registered as State and the number of the case is 13/17.

The FIR has been registered in the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the FIA currently being led by a SHO Afzal Niazi, who is also a signatory on the draft of FIR.The case has been assigned to Tahir Tanvir, an Assistant Director of the investigation agency, along Farooq Latif, an Inspector working in the SIU of FIA.

Earlier, Maqsoodul Hassan, a director of Anti-Corruption wing of FIA, found Zafar Hijazi guilty of closing the inquiry into the Sharif family’s Chaudhry Sugar Mills Limited by backdating.

In a report submitted to the Supreme Court, the FIA has concluded that the file of Chaudhry Sugar Mills Limited remained opened till June 2016, until the matter was abruptly closed by Hijazi.

In the light of statements recorded, the report states Hijazi obtained the record of the mills and verbally ordered SECP officials Maheen Fatima and Ali Azeem Ikram — in the presence of Abid Hussain and Tahir Mehmood — for the backdated closure of the investigation. All the four mentioned are officers of the commission.

The note dated January 14, 2013 was prepared and sent on June 29, 2016 and June 30, 2016, by SECP Corporate Supervision Department Additional Director Tariq Ahmad via email to Internal Audit and Compliance Department Director Maheen Fatima, the report further states. Fatima was asked to close the investigation against Chaudhry Sugar Mills Limited, without being given any reason. The same email was retrieved from the official email server of the commission, provided by SECP Information Systems and Technology Department Executive Director Murshed Khan. Therefore, the FIA has recommended registration of criminal case against Hijazi under sections 466 and 471 of Pakistan Penal Code.

The Section 466 suggests a seven-year imprisonment and fine for those who forge a legal document, while Section 471 punishes in the same manner for using as genuine a forged document.

Moreover, a departmental inquiry has also been suggested against Fatima and Ikram for complying with the illegal orders.Earlier, the Supreme Court directed the registration of FIR against Zafar Hijazi for tampering official record pertaining to the Sharif family business.

A three-member special implementation bench on the PanamaLeaks case verdict headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsen directed registration of an FIR after the FIA report found Chairman SECP Zafar Hijazi responsible for tampering official record pertaining to the Sharif family business.

The court on June 19 had directed Director General FIA to investigate the allegations levelled by the Joint Investigation Team against the SECP chairman for tampering with the record pertaining to Sharif family business.

In its report, the FIA had identified Zafar Hijazi as the culprit behind changing official records of the Chaudhry Sugar Mills, owned by the Sharif family, to help their case. Attorney General Ashter Ausaf informed the court about the result of the FIA inquiry. 

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed observed that the court will also have to see on whose orders the SECP chief was acting on. During the proceedings, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) headed by Wajid Zia submitted its final report. The JIT 10 volumes report packed in two cartons captioned with Evidence and Investigation of JIT on Panamagate were brought in the courtroom.

Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan said that petitioners and respondents may get the copies of the report from SC registrar’s office and the further hearing on the report will be resumed on next Monday.

Appearing before the court, JIT’s head FIA Additional Director Wajid Zia pleaded the court not to make public volume 10 of the report, which will be used for further investigation as it contains matter of mutual foreign legal assistance. The court also directed the JIT to disclose the name of person who is responsible for leaking the photo of prime minister’s son Hussain Nawaz on social media. The court has asked the attorney general that the Federation may itself decide about constitution of commission to initiate inquiry and proceed in accordance with law.

The court also directed the federal government to register case 466 and 471 of Pakistan Penal Code against Zafar Hijazi for tampering with the record.

Justice Ijazul Ahsen observed that the FIA report has found Zafar Hijazi pressurising the staff and passing illegal order. He said that SECP chief was found threatening, pressing and telling the staff that he would send them to Gilgit or send them to jail. He said he has committed perjury in his statement before the court that the record was not tampered or he has no knowledge of changes in the record ante-date. The court decided to take the perjury issue at later stage. Justice Ijazul Ahsen further said that deliberate efforts were made to obstruct justice and Zafar Hijazi lied to the court. The court in its order mentioned that none of their observations will influence the proceedings against the SECP chairman in the trial court.

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