ISLAMABAD: Investigators probing one of the country’s biggest money laundering scams informed the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday that a chunk of illegally parked money went into an account believed to be maintained by former President Asif Ali Zardari’s aide Awais Muzaffar Tappi who is residing in Dubai.
Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Bashir Memon, during the course of proceedings, personally submitted a confidential bank statement of M/S Zardari Group of Companies Private Ltd. which revealed an alleged link of the said group with an episode of illegally parked money worth Rs35 billion, with growing volume of Rs70 billion from 29 to 65 fake accounts maintained by around 26 companies and individuals.
“We’ve handed over an undeniable evidence to SCP today [July 12] where Zardari Group of Companies Pvt. Ltd. received Rs30 million from two different 'benami' accounts [one of them has been traced out]. Other smaller payments have also been deposited into this group' accounts from the said accounts,” claimed a senior official of FIA who is also a member of the Joint Investigation Agency (JIT) probing this case.
“Faryal Talpur had signed a cheque worth Rs30 million in name of Awais Muzaffar Tappi—this amount went from Zardari Group of Companies’ account,” claimed the investigator quoting gist of bank statement submitted with the apex court on Thursday. "We'r going to summon him [Owais Muzaffar] soon," added the investigator.
FIA team is now probing either any other amount was also sent to Mr Tappi’s accounts or not. JIT headed by Dr Najaf Mirza is also probing the alleged link of Anwar Majeed’s accounts with Awais Muzaffar's, FIA officials said.
FIA probing team submitted a confidential final report prepared by the State Bank of Pakistan with the SC which revealed that investigators have yet to collect information about 17 more fake accounts which could even expand volume of this laundered amount in coming weeks. FIA, however, fetched details of 12 accounts which were involving around 26 companies and individuals who allegedly illegally parked over Rs35 billion, revealed 470-page report, exclusively obtained with Geo News.
The Volume III of the said report revealed that Zardari Group of Companies Pvt Ltd through a cheque 5384360 received Rs15 million on May 20, 2014. Similarly, page 17 of the same volume revealed that investigators summoned Muhammad Javed Alvi, secretary M/S Zardari Group but he refused to appear before the FIA team. Masood-ul-Hassan Company Secretary M/S Sardar Muhammad Ashraf Pvt Limited also told FIA team that Shahzad Ali and Sikandar Ali Jatoi are aware of the transactions of Rs100 million adding that at that time their company was involved in construction of running distances of Katchi Canal from DG Khan to Balochistan for irrigation of land.
The detailed report continued to reveal that Khawaja Anwer Majid, Nazli Majid, Sara Tarin Majid, Aslam Masood, Muhammad Arif Khan and Naveed Iqbal owned Agro Farm Thatta Pvt Ltd where they maintained a huge amount of money in different accounts of Summit Bank and Sindh Bank. Now FIA team is probing these accounts. The Financial Monitoring Unit of State Bank of Pakistan in its suspicious reports identified 35 such reports maintained by the Summit Bank, stated the report. Iqbal Ghafur and Iqbal Khan Noori were directors of Parthenon Pvt Limited where suspicious transactions were detected.
Parthenon’s account 1-2-1-20311-714-133721 which is now dormant observed average monthly turnover of Rs122 million for last three years. The same account also observed aggregated a turnover with debit of Rs3.9 billion and credit of Rs4 billion during the said period. The report further carried details received from FMU and State Bank. It carried seizure memo of 02 A/cs of A-One International & 02 A/cs of lqbal Metals Summit Bank and statements of Tariq Sultan and two other persons whose CNICs were used to open the fake accounts. Original bank record of A/c No. 1-2-28-20620-714-139111 titled: A-One International maintained at Summit Bank Kh-e-Tanzeem Branch Karachi, original bank record of A/c No. 1-2-28-20311-714-139111 titled: A-Om International maintained at Summit Bank Kh-e-Tanzeem Brooch Karachi and handwriting expert opinion vide report No. 370/TW/FIA/2015 regarding A/c No. 1-2-28-20311-714-139111 & 1-2-28-20620¬139111, both titled A-One International maintained at Summit Bank Kh-e¬Tanzeon Branch Karachi were also submitted with the SCP. Record obtained from Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) of Ws Khoski Sugar Mills Pvt. Ltd, Omni Polymers Packages (M.) Ltd, M/s Agro Farms Matta (Pet.) Ltd. Ws Ansari Sugar Mills (Pvt.) Ltd. Tando Allayar Sugar Mills (Pvt.) Ltd. M/s Sujawal Agro Farms (Pvt.) Ltd, M/s Chambar Sugar Mills (Pvt.) Ltd. M/s Pak Ethanol (Pvt.) Ltd was also submitted with the court.
Lawyer of M/S Zardari Group of Companies Ltd Farooq H. Naek informed the court that ex President Zardari was no longer holding any office at this group since 2009-10. But contrary to it, interestingly, Asif Ali Zardari in his nominations papers submitted with the returning officer last month stated that he still has association with the said group. This correspondent tried to reach out Awais Muzaffar Tappi for his view point but till filing of this story his response was awaited.