ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has found former premier Yousaf Raza Gilani guilty of corruption in the 2009 and 2010 Hajj operations, the Express Investigation Cell (EIC) has learnt.
According to reliable sources, the agency has referred Gilani’s case to the Special Judge (Central), Rawalpindi, under Section 175 of the Pakistan Penal Code so that he may be declared a proclaimed offender. They added that according to legal procedure, the special judge will summon the former premier before the court and ask him to surrender himself for further investigation in the case.
FIA uncovered Gilani’s involvement in the Hajj scam while investigating other suspects in the case, sources told the EIC. According to them, the former premier misused his authority during his tenure on two counts – to allocate a huge quota to several undeserving Hajj operators and to appoint Zain Sukhera as a grade 21 officer in the information technology (IT) ministry.
FIA had earlier issued a notice to Gilani on both counts. The former premier, however, refused to appear before the agency and cooperate with the investigations. He went on record, saying that no agency could question him over his actions as the prime minister since they lay beyond anyone’s authority.
Similarly, Gilani’s son Abdul Qadir is unwilling to join the investigation as well. According to the sources, the FIA wanted to inquire how Qadir purchased a costly bulletproof Land Cruiser in 2010. The former premier’s son also had FIA officials summoned before Parliament.
FIA investigations established that Sukhera had a fake degree and was not qualified to hold a senior post in the government. Furthermore, at the time of his appointment, he faced several criminal charges levelled both by the FIA and the National Accountability Bureau.
Sukhera was eventually dismissed by the Supreme Court from his post a year and half after he was appointed. He was forced to pay back all payments and perks he enjoyed as a grade 21 officer. Reportedly, this even included Rs921 for the stationery he used while in office.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2012.
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