Rs nine billion BoP loan scam: fugitive claims he paid millions to get favourable verdict
QAMAR UZ ZAMAN
ISLAMABAD (November 25 2009): The fugitive of Rs 9 billion Bank of Punjab (BoP) loan scam, Sheikh Afzal, appeared before the apex court on Tuesday and gave a list of names who allegedly took millions of rupees to win a verdict in his favour. According to the list, Dr Babar Awan, Federal Minister, took Rs 35 million; Shairfuddin Pirzada Rs 10 million; Muhammad Qayyum, erstwhile Attorney General Rs 20 million; and Ali Waseem, son of Waseem Sajjad, took Rs 7.5 million for procuring a verdict in his favour, Afzal said.
In addition to these leading lawyers, he claimed that he gave Rs 400 million-500 million to Hamesh Khan, former President of BoP; Rs 30 million to Aziz Ahmed, control risk manager of the bank; Rs 50 million to Haroon Aziz; Rs 10 million to Shoaib Qureshi; Rs 40 million to Saleem Mirza, treasury head of the bank; and Rs 5 million to Fazeel Asghar who helped him escape despite being on the Exit Control List (ECL).
It is to be noted that a few months ago, former Attorney General Latif Khosa was removed from office on similar corruption charges in which he was accused of accepting money to procure a verdict in favour of the accused during the tenure of Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar.
A three-member bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan and Justice Tariq Parvez directed National Accountability Bureau (NAB) not to harass any family member of Sheikh Afzal, but allowed the Bureau to take any legitimate action for recovery of the defaulted money.
Meanwhile, Azam Khan, Director, Law, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), submitted a report on the steps taken for the extradition of Hamesh Khan from the USA. The report said that documents have been received by the Justice Department, Washington DC but there has been no response so far. Afzal, Chief Executive of Haris Steel Industry, was living in Malaysia along with his family. A few days ago the FIA and NAB managed to bring him back to the country.
The court praised the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for bringing the fugitives back while noting that "the FIA success in this regard be used as a precedent in future by NAB and other law enforcing agencies in their drive to bring back those persons into the country who after the commission of offences and plundering money of the nation feel that they would be safe out of the country and the amount looted by them would not be refundable".
Appearing before the court, Sheikh Afzal tendered apology and said that he was misguided by people from appearing before the court. He made a commitment that he was ready to settle legitimate claims of the bank. However, he requested that his family members including his wife (who was in custody of NAB), and sons Haris and Hamza should not be harassed, which was conceded by the court. The court directed Dr Danishwar Malik, NAB Prosecutor General, and Khawaja Haris, counsel for the BoP, to settle the matter with Sheikh Afzal.
The court also directed to place the names of all accused on ECL so that they could not flee the country. Meanwhile, Advocate Waseem Sajjad appeared before the court on behalf of Seth Nisar (brother of Sheikh Afzal) and stated that Nisar was ready to surrender before the court on condition of protection. The court directed the authorities concerned not to arrest him. The court adjourned the matter till December 2.