A federal anti-corruption court on Thursday granted interim pre-arrest bail to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Makhdoom Muhammad Amin Fahim in cases pertaining to the multi-billion rupee trade subsidy scam.
Mohammad Azeem, the judge of the special federal anti-corruption court-I, granted bail to the former minister of commerce against the surety of Rs200,000 each in 12 cases.
The cases against Fahim, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and seven former and serving senior officials of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) were registered by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for their alleged involvement in approving and disbursing fraudulent trade subsidies worth millions of rupees to several fake companies through fictitious claims and backdated cheques.
On Thursday, Fahim and Gilani reached the court premises amid heavy sloganeering by PPP workers. Subsequently, the suspects were summoned to the chamber of the judge and Fahim was granted bail. Both moved applications seeking exemption from personal appearance at subsequent hearings and the court issued notice to the FIA for August 5.
Earlier, the Sindh High Court (SHC) had restrained the FIA from arresting Fahim and granted him protective bail with directions to appear before the trial court.
The ex-PM obtained protective bail from the special anti-corruption court, which had earlier issued non-bailable warrants for his arrest over non-appearance in court despite notices, against the surety of Rs100,000 in each of 12 cases.
In August 2013, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif referred a scam involving ‘misappropriation’ of Rs1.27 billion in an export promotion organisation, a subsidiary of the commerce ministry, to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to collect evidence and initiate criminal proceedings against officials, exporters and companies allegedly involved in it.
In March this year, the FIA arrested 45 men for their alleged involvement in the scam of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan relating to ‘misappropriation’ of funds in export promotion schemes.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2014.
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