Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) officials investigating the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scandal are alleged to be reluctant to formally nominate Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim in the case and are trying to delay the proceedings.
The FIA authorities have failed to take a firm stand on the case, in which the minister is alleged to have pocketed huge sums of money through transfers into his and his family’s private bank accounts, in a deal involving a 10-acre piece of land in Bagh-e-Korangi in Karachi, purchased at double the price of its market value.
FIA’s legal department has repeatedly said that the evidence against the minister is insufficient. Fahim was stout in his defence, saying that the Rs40.1million transferred to his bank account from the account of the main accused, Khawja Akbar Butt, was the price of his bungalow situated in DHA. According to the minister, he had sold the bungalow to the late Zafar Saleem Lone, former director general of Workers Welfare Board. However, since an amount to the tune of Rs30 million was not paid to him, he had the deal cancelled through a decree by the court and had returned the paid amount.
A few days ago, former director general Moazzam Jah Ansari and other FIA officials had confessed at the case hearing in the Supreme Court that the bungalow deal was suspicious, claiming that the story of the sale of the bungalow was fabricated to provide some legal cover to the alleged corruption.
The apex court had expressed satisfaction over the FIA report and issued an order to submit a challan against Fahim. However, when the investigating officer of the case was asked to formally nominate the minster and his family in the case and submit the challan, the FIA’s Sindh Zone Director Moazzam Jah Ansari referred the case to the director general. This led to a month long delay in the progression of the case, as the director general only recently advised Ansari to make a decision himself as he was fully authorised for that.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2012.
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