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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Allegations against Jahangir Tareen: Criminal breach of trust, financial fraud and money laundering

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has asked estranged PTI leader Jahangir Tareen and his son Ali Tareen to appear before it and respond to eight questions, with the relevant documents. Read an informative story.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has asked estranged PTI leader Jahangir Tareen and his son Ali Tareen to appear before it and respond to eight questions, with the relevant documents.

A press statement issued by the FIA said that it was investigating the PTI leader on allegations of “criminal breach of trust, financial fraud and money laundering by JDW and its related companies JKFSL & FPML, since August 8 2020”.

The FIA said that it wants to see the “complete inventory, with commercial invoices wherever applicable” of the plant, machinery and equipment, any fixed assets, stores, spares and loose tools and intangible assets owned by JKFSL as of November 20, 2013.

The agency has also sought the independent valuation report of JKFSL which was done by the audit company AF Ferguson & Co.

The agency has asked the PTI leader to share the detail of foreign assets owned by him and his son in the UK and other countries, including the “family-owned 12-acres Hyde-House in New Hampshire”.

The FIA said that the house was mentioned by then CEO of JKFSL Ali Tareen in his statement given to FIA on April 9 2021. It has asked that the Tareens mention if the “assets have been declared to FBR or not, acquired by or on behalf of the then CEOs JDW and JKFSL or their family members”.

“The details should include complete description of assets, location, mode and cost of acquisition along with money trail,” said the FIA.

The FIA reminded the Tareens that they had failed to produce the documents despite “repeated summons and requests sent to JDW, JKFSL & FPML officers”. It added that the CEO/ CFO/ Co. secretary had informed the FIA that the transactions were with the PTI leader and his son.

My loyalty is being tested, JKT

Jahangir Tareen has said that his “loyalty is being tested”.  Tareen was speaking to the media outside a banking court in Lahore. A banking court extended the interim bail granted to Tareen, his son Ali Tareen and two other accused in a money laundering case. The court extended their interim pre-arrest bail until April 10 due to the absence of judge Ameer Muhammad Khan.

“Not one or two but three FIRs have been registered against me.” “My question is the same from day one that there are over 80 sugar mills in Pakistan, why am I being singled out?” “I am compelled to ask why I am being subjected to this vindictive action?” the estranged PTI leader asked. “My loyalty [to the party] is being tested.” “I have been facing the sugar commission for the past one year and have kept mum all along,” he maintained.

He demanded that those behind the vengeful action against him be exposed. “[Prime Minister] Imran Khan can expose these elements,” he opined.

Tareen also hit out at, what he called, his “media trial” asking if the cases against him are too weak to stand in a court of law that scorn is being poured on him in the media. He was of the view that the PTI will also suffer if he part ways with it. However, he cleared, that he is and will remain a part of the party.

Read more: SC resolves cane growers dilemma, Tareen will buy the produce

“I don’t intend to meet [PPP co-chairman Asif Ali] Zardari,” he said referring to rumours suggesting that he is joining the PPP. “There is no truth in such talk,” he stated in clear terms.

Inquiry Commission report

It is important to note that in 2020, following the shortage of wheat flour in the country and the subsequent price hike, sugar had also gone missing from the market. Taking notice of the situation, the prime minister had formed a committee to find out those responsible for the crises.

The prime minister had constituted two high-powered committees headed by the Director-General (DG) of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) along with a senior officer of the Intelligence Bureau and the DG of the Anti-Corruption Establishment of Punjab to investigate the causes behind the crises and price hike of those commodities. The prime minister had further directed the committee on sugar to conduct forensic analysis of sugar mills to further expand the findings.

On the directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the reports of the inquiry committees tasked to probe sugar and wheat crises in the country were made public on the 4th of April, 2020. According to the inquiry committee, there are six groups which control about 51% of the production of sugar in Pakistan, JKT’s Group JDW, controls 19.97% production, RYK Group (Khusro Bakhtiar) group control 12.24%, Al-Moiz Group controls 6.8%, Tandlianwala Group 4.9%, Omni Group 1.7% and the Sharif family owns 4.5% of the production.

Read more: Jahangir Tareen and Shehbaz Gill hit each other through Twitter

There were some speculations suggesting that the report might never be made public. Interestingly, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, then Federal Minister for Railways, had claimed in a private talk show that the report was unlikely to be published. “There shall be no report, I think,” he said. “Any report can disrupt the political process in the country, therefore, I believe that there may be some tactics to delay the report,” he added.

JKT was a big challenge?

Tareen, a senior leader of PTI, has already questioned the criteria behind the audit of his nine sugar mills and the selection process by the committee formed to probe the matter. He also rejected the sugar crisis report. The PTI leader said that he does not object to the audit of his sugar mills under the committee.

“Will the commission discover the reality behind all the sugar mills in Pakistan after conducting an audit of the nine mills?” said the businessman. There are also some speculations that the premier might have an idea that Pakistan’s flawed justice system cannot punish the mafia but he still ordered to make the report public.

Read more: Pakistan’s Sugar Mafia: Is there a long term solution?

In Pakistan, politically powerful persons have never been fairly trialed and convicted before a court of law. The problem lies, argue some experts, in Pakistan’s effective legal system which lacks competence and a strong will to punish powerful persons.

In the present case, some experts fear that the sugar mafia shall get away with these allegations on technical grounds. There has already been a decision by the SHC declaring the constitution of the commission illegal.