Three AGs quit, 2 FIA DGs transferred

ISLAMABAD:Three attorneys-general, defending the Swiss money laundering case, have resigned so far, while two FIA directors-general (DGs) and one director, investigating the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and National Insurance Corporation Limited (NICL) have been transferred, as transparent investigations in multi-billion dollars scams continue to be scuttled.The three attorneys general, including Lateef Khan Khosa, Shah Khawar and Anwar Mansoor Khan, resigned from the office while appearing before the court in connection with the Swiss money laundering case, involving $60 million.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan, after declaring the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) void ab initio, directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to open all cases, including the Swiss money laundering case against President Zardari. The NAB pleaded before the apex court that it was the responsibility of the attorney general to write a letter to Swiss courts to reopen the Swiss cases. This resulted in the casualty of three attorneys-general.

Pakistan Steel Mills’ (PSM) unprecedented single-year loss of Rs 26 billion, and the National Insurance Corporation Limited (NICL) case, estimated to have cost the taxpayers over 1000 million rupees resulted in the transfers of two DGs and one Director of FIA. Tariq Khosa and Zafarullah Khan, FIA DGs, were transferred; while Director, FIA, Punjab Zafar Qureshi, was transferred to scuttle an inquiry in the NICL financial scam.

Director General of FIA Tariq Khosa was transferred while he was investigating gross irregularities in the PSM on the directives of Supreme Court of Pakistan, and was ostensibly given a promotion and posted as Secretary, Narcotics Control. An official privy to PSM corruption investigation told this scribe that Khosa and his team were in the midst of some very high profile criminal investigations involving some ‘big names’ in the country.

The FIA team, led by Khosa had reportedly unearthed proof of financial corruption in PSM and compiled a report which was submitted to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, after which Khosa had planned to arrest all those PSM officials against whom proof of guilt was available, including a former PSM chairman, Moeen Aftab Sheikh.

Tariq Khosa sustained massive pressure from the government, and persistently refused to succumb to it, media sources say. Khosa, prior to his transfer, was in the process of seeking permission from the Prime Minister Secretariat to arrest the minister of state whose money exchange firm was engaged in money laundering of about Rs 20 billion.

After Tariq Khosa’s ‘promotion’, Zafarullah Khan assumed charge of PSM investigation and announced that he would continue to investigate the PSM corruption scam. Zafarullah was also removed, and former CCPO of Karachi, Waseem Ahmed, took over charge. Responding to Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s query, Waseem contended that three officers had already been transferred from his department, and he would be the fourth, if he pursued the PSM case. He also informed the apex court that FIA does not have legal authority to recover the looted money, as only NAB is authorised to do so.

Waseem informed the court that assets valued at Rs 400 million had been frozen in the PSM case. He told the bench that FIA investigation of Al-Abbas Group, which supplies 20 percent of raw material to the PSM, was flawed. Zafar Qureshi, Director, FIA, Punjab, was transferred due to pressure from influential quarters, but managed to recover the entire amount of Rs 1.68 billion loss inflicted on the national exchequer in the National Insurance Corporation (NIC) land scam before relinquishing his charge – Dailymailnews