Factory inferno: Ali Enterprises’ assets frozen on SBP orders

Published: September 19, 2012
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The move to freeze the assets comes six days after the actual incident. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

The move to freeze the assets comes six days after the actual incident. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

KARACHI: 

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) asked all banks on Monday to freeze the assets of the owners of Ali Enterprises’ factory, which was engulfed in flames on September 11, killing at least 260 workers that were trapped inside.

The notice was sent to the banks in the evening after a lower court asked the central bank to stop the people nominated in the police complaint from moving their assets elsewhere.

“We have issued the orders,” an SBP spokesman said without sharing further details. “There are 40 commercial banks involved and nothing can be revealed about the amount being frozen.”

According to investigation officer Chaudhry Zafar Iqbal’s written application the owners have Rs510 million in four accounts kept with two banks.

Ali Enterprises, a member of Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA), had annual sales of around Rs5 billion, according to SITE Association of Industry’s Chairman Irfan Moton.

The move to freeze the assets comes six days after the actual incident, raising questions about its efficacy as it might have allowed the accused sufficient time to move the money elsewhere, said a senior banker.

The owners have obtained a bail from court.

Scrutiny of SITE Limited

As part of their investigation, FIA questioned the staff at SITE Limited Company, which is responsible for clearing building designs of factories in the industrial estate. Initial investigations have showed that the factory did not have enough emergency exits and the design was approved because the SITE’s bylaws are silent on the subject.

No one from the FIA was available for comment.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • Shahid Butt
    Sep 19, 2012 - 1:09PM

    Arrest the owners first and their spouses also. Arrest all the board members . Freeze all their assets. Any money transferred out of these accounts must be reversed(since the date of fire). Keep all these people in jail till settlement is reached with the families whose members died.
    giving five or ten lakh per person is not sufficent. These people have to be compensated based on their life expectancy. It means if a 30yrs old died and average life in pakistan is 65 yrs then he should be given 35lakh assuming he was making one lakh per yr. Owners properties and assets must be sold in public auction to raise the funds unless there is money available from the insurance co.Make this incidence an example for the present and future owners so history does not repeat it self.Spouse has to be paid for loss of consortium. Children of the family has to be paid for the loss of loved ones’. To estimate future earnings, inflation factor has to be added too. In this case inflation in Pakistan is at least 10%.
    All this needs to be done in an organized way without any further demonstrations ,or further loss of life. By the way, those people who got injured and got disabled, their medical bills have to be paid by the owners. they have to be financially compensated too. that is the way it will be done in USA.We should learn from good example.

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  • Concerned
    Sep 19, 2012 - 6:07PM

    There is no law which states the government can freeze someone’s personal bank accounts. Accusing someone without having any evidence is a major sin, and it is frowned upon. Thus, we should not accuse the owners for something which was not in their control, and definitely without any evidence.
    If the owners were guilty then they would not have spoken to the media so openly. We need to realize that if we point one finger at someone else the other 4 fingers are pointing back at us! Life expectancy is something that varies from person to person as only Allah determines how long someone lives, and also how one leaves this world. I am pretty sure that the families of the victims will be compensated not only by the owners, but also by the Pakistani community. It is extremely easy to pass statements about how the families should be compensated. The difficult part is how WE can play a role in helping the families who lost their loved ones. So, instead of passing statements about how the owners should be punished we should be planning our next move in how WE can be helpful members of this community. Also, I am pretty sure that there is absolutely NO LAW which says that the spouses of the owners should be arrested, and that is NOT “the way it will be done in USA”! We live in PAKISTAN, and our laws are extremely different from the laws of USA. If we really want to learn from a good example, then our government should definitely be more efficient, and the fire brigade and rescue teams should have reached on time, and should have had PROPER equipment to save the lives of the people burning to death.

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  • Irfan
    Sep 29, 2012 - 9:28AM

    @Shahid Butt:
    brother do you know any law?
    these owners were giving salaries to so many people and foreign exchange to country for decades. in the situation currently where nobody is ready to invest in pakistan. they were doing noble work.
    God knows what they did wrong which God didnt liked but what i see from media that the owners are facing from everywhere.
    i recommand all owners of factories to please close factories and go out of the country as any politcal problem or any Force measure happens they will have to go to jail for 30 years. like Shahid said. no need to work hard where nobody knows laws.Recommend

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