The Supreme Court summoned four former board of directors of Bank of Punjab on Thursday for representing different industrial groups and borrowing approximately Rs20 billion in violation of section 19(4) of BoP Act 1909.
The former directors included Gohar Ijaz, Farid Mughees, Farrukh Iftikhar and Mian Latif, disclosed Bank of Punjab counsel Khawaja Haris to the three-member bench headed by the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry during the course of hearing the Rs9 billion fraud in Bank of Punjab.
Khawaja Haris informed the bench that the bank has recovered Rs1.5 billion from 31 defaulters during last year. Criminal cases have been registered against few of them while others are being reviewed.
“Hamesh Khan was extradited from USA, so why can’t these defaulters be arrested” Chief Justice remarked.
Haris contended that the size of corruption in Bank of Punjab scam is Rs80 billion whereas according to Aftab Sultan’s investigation report the scam is about Rs76 billion.
NAB deputy prosecutor general Raja Amir informed the bench that one of the directors Farid Mughees borrowed Rs5billion for a textile mill but gave the money to Chaudhry Pervez Elahi for the purchase of his Phalia Sugar Mill.
At the outset of the hearing, the counsel presented the statement of Governor Punjab, Sardar Latif Khan Khosa recorded by the probe team on April 9, who was questioned by the team for not opposing the Harris Steel Mill case as Attorney General in Supreme Court. Khawaja Haris read out the statement of the Governor denying the charge of getting Rs1.5 million bribe from Sheikh Afzal.
“This is absolutely untrue. I had nothing to do with Sheikh Afzal’s matters except one occasion when I appeared in the Supreme Court as Attorney General in connection with a transfer application filed by Sheikh Afzal. I opposed his application. I don’t know who is claiming to have given me any money. I never met Irfan Ali. I categorically deny the allegation that I received money from Sheikh Afzal or anybody acting in his behalf” the Governor said in his response.
Chief Justice remarked on the Governor’s statement that these accusations are of serious nature and directed Attorney General Maulvi Anwarlul Haq to give his opinion on this issue after consulting the high ups on immunity issue.
Chief Justice while adjourning the case till June 15 informed that the court will order and fix the matter in an accountability court with direction to conduct the hearing on a daily basis.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2011.