Money laundering case: JIT report holds Zardari, Omni groups responsible

December 24, 2018

Nothing new in JIT report, says PPP leader Kaira

LAHORE: A joint investigation team (JIT) report submitted in the Supreme Court has held the Zardari and Omni groups responsible in the mega money laundering and fake accounts case.

A two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the suo motu case at the apex court’s Lahore registry on Monday and issued a notice to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson Asif Zardari. The court also imposed a ban on the sale and purchase of Zardari and Omni groups’ properties.

During the hearing, the chief justice remarked that expenses of the Zardari and Bilawal house were paid through companies operating fake bank accounts.

“Even the heater bills and money spent on their dog food was paid by someone else,” he added.

Further, the chief justice linked Omni Group properties with the court decision. “These properties will be seized,” the chief justice said and imposed a ban on the sale and purchase of Zardari and Omni groups’ properties.

Directing that the JIT report be handed over to the respondents, the chief justice ordered Zardari’s counsel, Farooq H Naek, to submit a reply by December 31.

During the hearing, the Supreme Court played the JIT report on a projector. On December 19, the JIT probing the case had submitted a detailed report in the SC.

The JIT report stated that money was transferred through fake accounts for the construction of Bilawal Houses in Karachi and Lahore. “These companies paid for Bilawal family’s monthly expenditure of over Rs12 million,” the report added.

“Fake bank accounts paid for Zardari and Bilawal’s personal expenses. Expenses for dog food at Bilawal House and 27 sacrificial goats were also paid for through fake bank accounts,” the report said.

Further, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) requested the court to place names of all those involved on the Exit Control List (ECL). However, the top judge directed FIA officials to approach the Interior Ministry. “They will take a decision in this regard,” he said.

Earlier as the hearing went under way, the chief justice also told Zardari’s counsel, “It is a matter of billions of rupees and we will not forgive. We cannot pardon those who looted billions and are now engaging in mischief.”

Turning to Omni Group counsels Muneer Bhatti and Shahid Hamid, Justice Nisar said, “It seems that Omni Group owners are still sitting on high horses. They have looted billions of rupees of the nation and are still engaging in mischief.”

He added. “It seems that they will have to be shifted elsewhere from Adiala jail.” Justice Nisar continued, “There will be no mercy for Anwar Majid.”

“You are a counsel and are taking fees. We will hear you, but we have to make a decision,” the top judge further said.

Speaking to the media after the hearing, Zardari’s counsel said, “The case will be heard in Islamabad on Monday.”

“The JIT has presented its report in the Supreme Court but I have not read it as yet so cannot comment,” Naek added. “We will be given the JIT report,” he added. Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Qamar Zaman Kaira on Monday commented on the joint investigation team (JIT) report submitted in the Supreme Court and said there is nothing new in it.

Speaking to the media after the Supreme Court issued a notice to former president Asif Ali Zardari and the JIT report held Zardari and Omni groups responsible in the mega money laundering and fake bank accounts case, Kaira said, “There is nothing new in the report for us and we kept hearing ministers saying a lot of what is written in it.”

“The court had ordered that there will be no media discussion on this report till a decision in the case is announced,” he added.

The PPP leader lamented, “An impression was created that all decisions have been made and we have been proven guilty.”

“We have not committed any mistake and will prove ourselves innocent,” he asserted.

Regarding the report stating that Zardari’s personal expenses were paid by Omni Group, Kaira said, “Hotel and laundry bills are mentioned [in the report] and bills are paid through companies.”

“We will tell where all the JIT report was shown before it was presented in court,” he added. “This report was prepared with involvement of political persons,” the PPP leader claimed.

“The JIT mocked the court decision and a notice should be taken of it,” he further said.

The PPP leader continued, “All individuals assume that they are the biggest and have the ability to resolve all issues. However, everyone has to resolve issues together and no one person can do it alone.

Monitoring Desk