Omni Group chairman, son request SC to dismiss JIT report

ISLAMABAD: Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed and his son, Abdul Ghani Majeed, on Saturday submitted a reply in the Supreme Court to a joint investigation team (JIT) report on mega money laundering and fake accounts case and said they are innocent in all allegations leveled against them. On December 24, the Supreme Court had directed the Zardari Group, Omni Group and others to file their comments on the JIT report by December 31. The JIT report submitted in the top court had held the Zardari and Omni groups responsible in the mega money laundering and fake accounts case. In their reply, the two suspects requested the top court to dismiss the JIT report. “We are innocent in all allegations leveled against us in the JIT report,” the Majeeds said in their reply. “No material or documentary evidence was provided with the JIT report to support the allegations,” the reply read. “Names of those 924 individuals, whose statements were recorded, have not been provided,” it further said. “The JIT has no basis to recommend transferring the matter to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB),” the response stated. “According approval for any of the JIT’s recommendations will be a violation of basic rights,” it added. The JIT in its report had recommended NAB cases and freezing of assets of the Zardari Group and its front companies. The JIT members also suggested that all the persons involved in money laundering needed to be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL). The federal government on Friday released a list of 172 suspects whose names have been placed on the ECL. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry in a press briefing on Thursday had announced the government's decision to put 172 individuals on the ECL, in view of the report submitted by the JIT in the long-running money laundering case. The case The FIA is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and Talpur. Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested in July in connection with the probe. The former president’s other close aide and Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed a close aide and Omni Group chairman and his son, Abdul Ghani, were arrested by FIA in August. Over 20 ‘benami’ accounts at some private banks were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made, according to sources. The amount, according to FIA sources, is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions and bribes. A banking court on Friday extended the interim pre-arrest bail of former president Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur till January 7 in the ongoing money laundering case. Earlier, the JIT that has been investigating the fake accounts recommended a legal course against some 415 key individuals and around 172 entities allegedly involved in transactions of approximately Rs220 billion through 104 fake accounts. The JIT recently observed that either the investigation would be further referred to banking courts, NAB, FIA or it was up to the apex court to decide based on the JIT findings. The report also revealed a domestic worker of Zardari, with an estimated fortune of around Rs8.1 billion stashed into one of his fake accounts. Mushtaq Ahmed, 37, who once served as one of personal staff members of Zardari accumulated the wealth with Zain Malik through a joint fake account maintained in a private bank in Karachi during 2014-15, the report stated.

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