JIT seeks details of Sindh govt’s bank accounts in money laundering case

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KARACHI: The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing into the ongoing Rs 35 billion money laundering case on Friday sought records of bank accounts owned by the Sindh government.

In a letter written to the provincial government by the JIT, it sought records for the past 10 years of bank accounts owned by them.

Furthermore, the money given to sick industry units and government contracts awarded have also been made part of the investigation.

According to the letter, the JIT has sought records for the past 10 years of the transactions made saying, “The Sindh government should share the records of all accounts in all banks along with signatures from the concerned officers.”

“The money lent to sick industry units over the past 10 years and details of their directors should also be provided,” the letter added.

Further, details have also been sought of the contracts awarded in the Water and Communication and Works Departments in the last 10 years.

“Details should be shared regarding how much money was invested in and how many contracts were awarded pertaining to these two departments in the last 10 years,” the letter stated.

Details of contractors, including their names, addresses and NIC numbers, have also been sought. The letter also mentions the suo motu notice taken by the Supreme Court regarding the case.

Earlier, an FIA JIT was formed on the orders of the apex court that has been investigating a 2015 case regarding fake accounts and fictitious transactions conducted through 29 ‘benami’ accounts in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited.

Seven people, including Zardari and Faryal Talpur, are said to be involved in using those accounts for suspicious transactions. The accounts were allegedly used to channel funds received through commissions and kickbacks.

While hearing a suo motu case regarding a delay in the FIA probe into the case, the SC had constituted a JIT to probe into the matter.

The case was initially registered in 2015 against former Pakistan Stock Exchange Chairman Hussain Lawai, who is widely believed to be close to former president Zardari.

It was also reported that warrants were issued for suspects absconding in the case, including Namar Majeed, Aslam Masood, Arif Khan, Naseer Abdullah Hussain, Adnan Javed, Mohammad Umair, Iqbal, Azam Wazir Khan, Zain Malik, and Mustafa Zulqarnain.

Last month, Lawai and banker Taha Raza were detained and booked for allegedly facilitating the opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts through which suspicious transactions were made to different companies, including M/s Zardari Group.

Talpur had also obtained an interim pre-arrest bail in the case in the sum of Rs2 million.

Both the siblings are facing corruption charges relating to fake accounts and fictitious bank transactions worth Rs35 billion. Both Zardari and Talpur face allegations that they had illegally channelled funds through the said accounts in connivance with the chief executive officers of major banks.

In August, the siblings had also appeared before a joint investigation team of the FIA in Islamabad to record their statement in the multi-billion rupee money laundering and fake bank accounts case open against them.