ISLAMABAD: A court on Tuesday granted bail to Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) chairman Muhammad Zafar Hijazi, who faces charges of tampering with the records of the Sharif family’s companies.
While granting the transitory bail till July 17, Islamabad High Court’s Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani advised Hijazi to approach the appropriate forum – the Special Court Central. The bail was granted against surety bonds of Rs10,000.
The bail request was submitted by Hijaz’s counsel, Sheikh Zameer Hussain, who cited his 64-year-old client’s medical condition including a kidney transplant and diabetes mellitus type-2 that would make his detention injurious to his health.
In the petition, Hussain said the FIA had not proceeded in the matter as it ought to have, insisting that Hijazi had led the life of an honest and an upright man without any blemish; yet his prestige and dignity had been put at stake.
Through his legal counsel, Hijazi maintained that the case was initiated in the SECP to probe into the affairs of the Chaudhary Sugar Mills [Pvt] Ltd, which was allegedly used as a medium for money laundering by concealing and fraudulent activities in the disguise of a regular and legitimate business.
Hussain reiterated that that the central authorities in UK and financial services authorities were approached for requisite information and a clarification letter was issued to the company in 2011 while proceedings under sections 261 and 263 of the Companies Ordinance were also initiated.
He added that two files — one pertaining to money laundering and the other routine examination — were submitted and the company provided detailed information and documents in 2012 and 2013 which were found to be satisfactory.
The counsel further claimed that the FIA had not looked into the money laundering file and rather taken advantage of the discrepancy attributed to the petitioner with malafide intent as the date mentioned in the routine examination file was an error wrongly attributed to the petitioner.
He argued that three SECP officers — Abid Hussain, Ali Azeem Akram and Maheen Fatima — had agreed on the point that the issue was closed in 2013 but still it was alleged that Hijazi pressured them in 2016 to change the date in the file to January 14, 2013. “To save their skin, they blamed the petitioner for pressuring them as they had slept over the file without proceeding further for more than three years,” the counsel stated, accusing them of covering their illegal acts and omission by blaming his client.
“None of the officers or the FIA have explained or examined what benefit the petitioner would derive from such oral order,” said Hussain, adding that the FIA had registered the case even there was no evidence to constitute the offences.