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Zafar Hijazi indicted in record tempering case

Zafar Hijazi
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News Analysis |

Zafar Hijazi, former Chairman of the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), was indicted today on record tampering case pertaining to Chaudhry Sugar Mills owned by the Sharif family.

Hijazi was presented before the Special Court Central Judge Irum Niazi who read out the charges against the accused. According to the charge sheet, Hijazi had pressurized his subordinates to tamper with the Chaudhry Sugar Mills record.

The former SECP chairman has pleaded not guilty to the charges labeled against him. However, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) prosecutor maintained that the institution has substantial evidence against the alleged culprit which will be presented to the court in due course.

Hijazi has the long-standing association with the Sharif family and Finance minister Ishaq Dar. He allegedly tempered with the record, though, there was no apparent benefit for him. 

His representatives had argued in front of the judge to drop the case as the initial investigations failed to bring anything substantial against the accused. However, Judge-Irum Niazi opposed the justifications given by the defense and trusted the remarks of the prosecutor which led to his indictment.

On 20th October, accountability court had deferred the indictment of the Zafar Hijazi, amid the unavailability of the prosecutor. He was provided with the charge sheet on 26th September.

Read more: Chairman SECP tampered Sharif family’s business records: FIA report

The arrest, Judicial Remand, and Bail

The First Information Report against the former SECP chairman was registered at the agency’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) in Islamabad, under the  Sections 466 (forgery) and 471 (using forged documents as genuine) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), read with Section 5(2)(47) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The contrary to these allegations, Hijazi claimed that SECP employees-Maheen Fatima and Abid Hussain changed the SECP records about the Chaudhary Sugar Mills without any directives or pressure from him.

Previously, the inquiry team had investigated to confirm the claims against the accused and submitted a 28-page report in Apex Court on 9th July. He was produced in front of the Civil Judge-Muhammad Shabbir at the end of the judicial remand with FIA. Though FIA has requested for extension in physical custody, it was rejected by the judge. He was subsequently sent to the Adiala Jail for 14-days judicial remand.

Though, he was taken into custody but was later bailed out against the two surety bonds worth Rs250,000, sighting the deteriorating health conditions.

Read more: SECP under scrutiny, Panama JIT approaching its climax.

Maheen Fatima’s Damaging Allegations

Earlier, Zafar Hijazi was booked for allegedly interfering in the Panama case investigations. Maheen Fatima -a SECP official had alleged that Hijazi had locked her in the room on 14th June for talking with the Panama JIT team. She facilitated the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in the Panama case by revealing the actual position of the Chaudary Mills, which did not go well with Hijazi.

Earlier, Zafar Hijazi was booked for allegedly interfering in the Panama case investigations. Maheen Fatima -a SECP official had alleged that Hijazi had locked her in the room on 14th June for talking with the Panama JIT team.

Moreover, she had claimed, while speaking to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, that “Hijazi issued orders to close the case on note sheet, and not make a [formal] report.” Besides, she was ordered by Hijazi to close the case in back dates, because, if SECP had closed the case on the current dates, it would have mounted a serious issue for the Chaudhary Sugar Mills.

Fatima had accused Hijazi of forcing her to alter her statements to FIA under pressure. But, on the contrary to these allegations, Hijazi claimed that SECP employees-Maheen Fatima and Abid Hussain changed the SECP records about the Chaudhary Sugar Mills without any directives or pressure from him.

Read more: SECP gives 291 names for JIT: Who will be the chosen…

FIA team Endorsed JIT Report

JIT formed by the Apex court had compiled the investigation report on the wrongdoings of the Sharif family. When the FIA investigative team headed by the Director Maqsoodul Hassan subsequently investigated Hijazi,  it endorsed the JIT report findings (related to the ex-PM Nawaz Sharif’s and his family’s foreign assets) submitted in the Apex Court 9th July.

The FIA by validating the claims of JIT, put more misery on crumbling Hijazi.

Another Crony Indicted

Hijazi has the long-standing association with the Sharif family and Finance minister Ishaq Dar. He allegedly tempered with the record, though, there was no apparent benefit for him.  His appointment as the chairman of SECP twice during the PML-N government reflects his proximity with the ousted PM and his family. Will this alleged forgery and record tempering put more misery on the accused, only time will tell? The case is adjourned until 10th November.


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