Land scam: Prime accused still enjoying privileges

Muhammad Ayaz Khan Niazi will remain on ‘leave’ till the FIA finalises its investigations.


Express December 05, 2010

LAHORE: One of the prime accused in the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam, Muhammad Ayaz Khan Niazi, the NICL chief, is still enjoying official perks and privileges despite being involved in at least five criminal cases registered against him in Karachi and Lahore.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had sent the NICL chief on forced leave after he was implicated in a land purchase deal that deprived the national exchequer of billions of rupees.

When the state’s reluctance became evident to prosecute the people involved in the scam, the Supreme Court intervened and directed the commerce secretary to lodge separate FIRs against the man and others accused in connection with five transactions. Four more FIRs were registered on the complaint of the commerce secretary.

According to a notification, Niazi will remain on ‘leave’ till the finalisation of investigations conducted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Karachi and FIA Lahore.

In statements submitted by Ayaz Khan Niazi before the FIA’s Lahore team, he said that he is still chairman but on leave and became infuriated when addressed as former chairman of NICL, sources told The Express Tribune. On Friday, the anti-corruption branch (ACB) of the FIA headquarters in Islamabad had sought progress reports from FIA’s Punjab and Sindh directors in the NICL scam.

According to letter vide No.HQ/LHR/24/2010/3492-93 dated December 3, 2010, entitled ‘Alleged malpractices in purchase of land by NICL’. It was issued from the FIA headquarters in Islamabad with the stamp and signature of the Muhammad Kishwar Kiani, deputy director of the anti-corruption branch.

It also “requested” FIA officials to initiate a check on the status of the accused – especially their grade and rank.

On the directions of FIA HQ, FIA Lahore and FIA Karachi have dispatched updated reports regarding the NICL scam via fax and email, elaborating background information and allegations.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 5th, 2010.

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