Rumour mill goes into overdrive at the KSE

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KARACHI: Mystery shrouds the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) where the director general of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is due next week to, it is believed, initiate a probe into alleged money laundering at the country’s largest stock market. Persistent rumours indicate DG FIA Waseem Ahmed will be visiting the KSE on Monday to hold a meeting with the management and members of the local bourse.
Some are viewing the rare visit as the first salvo in a concerted campaign to crackdown on money laundering at the KSE. Others believe that Waseem was conducting a visit to address complaints of the KSE card holders against some officers of the FIA who were harassing the former.
Sources at the KSE put stock in rumours the FIA chief would be initiating an inquiry into money laundering at the not terribly well regulated stock market. However, another source told Pakistan Today that the former Karachi capital city police officer (CCPO) showed up at the KSE on a ‘special and long-pending’ request of the members.
“The FIA served notices to six brokers a couple of months ago and then officers began harassing the members very much,” the source stated, adding that the FIA notices were based on allegations about the direct involvement of the members in money laundering.
The gentleman revealed that members frustrated by the irrelevant and unjustified had approached the DG to resolve the issue. “The brokers requested the management to contact the DG FIA to settle the matter through proper channels and cease harassment at the hands of FIA,” the source said.
Seconding this view, a senior member of Karachi Stock Exchange said the FIA officers were dragging card holders off for investigation, even though it was not in purview of their functions.
“Some FIA officials have been troubling members time and again, while investigating irrelevant cases,” the member said. It has also been claimed that besides launching a clampdown upon money launderers, Waseem will also look into some irregularities allegedly committed by the former managing director of KSE. “Afridi overstepped legal boundaries,” the source stressed.
He alleged that the former MD KSE was authorised to sign bank cheques worth not more than Rs 0.5 million. After the expiry of his contract it became apparent that he had subscribed cheques amounting to Rs 1.5 million. The source wondered aloud why monthly review meetings of the KSE board had never taken notice of the excess amounts involved.
“The case seems to have been referred to the FIA,” the source opined. However, when contacted, the DG FIA denied all rumours that he was conducting a formal investigation into the operations of the KSE.