ISLAMABAD: A multi-billion-rupee National Insurance Corporation Limited (NICL) scam continues to unfurl surprise after surprise as FIA investigators uncover a behind-the-scenes deal.
The detained chairman, Ayaz Khan Niazi, has revealed that the top guns of Transparency International (TI), Pakistan, had offered to help him clear his name in corruption cases presently with the Supreme Court, if he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to award all lucrative contracts on their recommendation in the future.
An absconding NICL board member, Qasim Amin Dada, wanted by the FIA in this same Rs4 billion land scam, tried to convince his colleagues to strike a deal with TI representatives, according to Niazi.
Dada’s son is married to the daughter of Aqeel Dhedhi, an influential stock broker. And the investigators believe that Dhedhi is using his political and financial clout to stop the investigation and also block attempts to smoke out Dada from his hiding place.
TI volunteered to present a fact-finding report to the SC establishing the innocence of NICL officials. In return NICL would award contracts solely to private parties cleared by TI and advertise tenders in newspapers after referring to the agency for advice.
Ayaz Khan Niazi is presently being questioned by Director FIA, Zafar Ahmed Qureshi in Lahore, after the high-profile accused in two cases of land fraud, was escorted from Karachi on the orders of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, to probe his role in the land and property scam involving the Warraich family.
NICL is also facing charges of misappropriating millions of rupees paid to a private party for office renovation. Payment to the contractor has been made in full but the job is still continuing.
The allegation against TI is considered to be very serious, as Niazi has given details of TI officials’ involvement in the alleged blackmail in his 30-page written statement to the FIA official, Zafar Qureshi.
Niazi said he and his colleagues refused TI’s unconventional offer. He named three other board members who were present when Dada negotiated on TI’s behalf.
The Express Tribune made several attempts to contact Chairman TI, Adil Gilani, for his side of the story, but without success.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 16th, 2010.