ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday suspended the sentences of former Registrar Supreme Court Muhammad Ameen Farooqi and Islamic Investment Bank Limited (IIBL) Chief Operating Officer (CEO) Javed Iqbal Qureshi in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) references.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsen, heard the appeals of Ameen Farooqi and Javed Iqbal against their sentences.
NAB had filed references against the accused, involved in embezzling over Rs600 million of government funds.
Khawaja Haris, counsel for Farooqi, submitted before the court that an accountability court had awarded 10 years imprisonment to his client in the reference.
The counsel submitted that his client had completed eight years and three months of sentence, adding that as per the law, if a convict completes more than half of his sentence, his remaining sentence could be suspended. Haris submitted that there was no proof that Farooqi got direct benefit in the case, adding that his client permitted to deposit the money in the IIBL after receiving a note from the cashier.
Justice Munib Akhtar, however, observed that if the former registrar wanted, he could have returned the cashier’s note. The judge remarked that it was also a crime if one does not use his authority. Justice Ijazul Ahsen observed that usually a cashier does not send a note directly to the registrar.
Haris contended that the procedural mistakes could not be regarded as a crime.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed that that usually a comparison of banks was made before depositing money but in this case, no comparison had been made. The judge questioned if there were proof at that time that everybody knew that the IIBL was getting down.
Justice Munib observed that the court had ordered to save the money but it did not order to deposit it for profit.
Meanwhile, the counsel for Javed Iqbal submitted before the court that his client was awarded four years imprisonment by NAB court, adding that his client had completed over three years sentence, pleading that his sentence should also be suspended.
The court suspended the sentences of Farooqi and Javed Iqbal and adjourned the hearing for date in office.
In June, 2005 the Islamabad Capital Territory Police had arrested 14 people, including Amin Farooqi and Javed Iqbal, on the order of the then Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqui in a case of misappropriating government funds through the IIBL.
They were taken into custody from the premises of the Supreme Court building and handed over to NAB. The arrests were recommended following an SC inquiry into a case of an un-recovered bank guarantee of Rs493 million, which ended up being Rs634 million after mark-up.
The money was to be refunded to the Central Board of Revenue not Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) after the apex court rejected a contempt of court case of Fecto Belarus Tractors Limited.
Then SC Registrar, Budha Khan, while lodging a complaint with NAB, had held criminal negligence of Amin Farooqui responsible for the Rs634 million financial scam, as the amount was invested in a non-banking finance company limited (IIBL) with ulterior motives for extraordinary considerations, know to Farooqi, it said
Farooqi invested the money in active connivance of Javed Iqbal, who later misappropriated the amount with the assistance of former IIBL director Nadeem Anwar. The Supreme Court deposited an amount of Rs493 million in the IIBL in 2002 which was received by the apex court from the Central Board of Revenue as security in the Fecto Belarus Tractors case.
Later, the SC had asked the registrar to return the security deposit of the CBR along with mark-up. When the CBR approached the registrar’s office for the return of security, it was found that the IIBL was not in a position to pay the amount because of bankruptcy. It was also brought to the notice of the chief justice that the former registrar while in service had deposited the security in the IIBL in violation of clear instructions of the Finance Ministry, which had specified three scheduled banks for depositing securities.
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Soon after the blast, the police reached the site and cordoned off the area.