According to reports released on Wednesday, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has filed a money laundering investigation against PML-Q leader and former federal minister Moonis Elahi and others.
Moonis’ lawyer, Amir Saeed Rao, later informed that the FIA’s action would be challenged in the Lahore High Court because a case “could not be launched without a prior inquiry.”
He also asserted that the case The case against Elahi was registered on Tuesday under Sections 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of a common intention), 109 (punishment for abetment), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating), and 471 (using a genuine forged document), according to the FIA’s first information report, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com.was “mala fide.”
The complainant in the FIR is the state, which is represented by the FIA Corporate Crime Circle in Lahore.
According to the FIR, the FIA’s Anti-Corruption Circle in Lahore opened an investigation on August 7, 2020, based on the Sugar Inquiry Commission’s report.
According to the FIR, the federal government ordered the FIA to investigate financial and corporate frauds committed by several sugar mills, including Rahim Yar Khan (RYK)/Alliance Sugar Mills, in light of the findings.
“During the ongoing probe against RYK/ Alliance Sugar Mills Group, it transpired that the following low-profile individuals — one of them had been at a very low level at the time — had jointly set up RYK Sugar Mills Ltd. in 2007/2008 at Rahim Yar Khan,” the FIR stated.
Nawaz Bhatti and Mazhar Abbas were named in the report.
The mill was “ostensibly established up by laundering monies from unexplained sources, including proceeds of financial crimes,” according to the FIR.
The mill’s capital expanded by Rs720 million in 2008, according to the FIR, but the source of these money, as well as those necessary for land acquisition, plant and machinery import, and administrative expenses, remained “unexplained.”
Nawaz and Abbas, who held the majority of the mill’s shares at the time, disposed of them between 2011 and 2014, according to the FIR, but the transaction was likewise unexplained.
“According to bank records studied thus far, M. Nawaz Bhatti [Naid Qasid] and Mazhar Abbas were signatories to various bank accounts with a total value of Rs24 billion.”
The FIR also said that their shares were purchased by two special purpose vehicles (SPVs), including Bhatti’s nephew, Wajih Ahmed Khan Bhatti, who is currently employed by the Punjab Assembly, and Cascade Tek Pvt Ltd, after going via intermediaries.
A special purpose vehicle (SPV) is a subsidiary company created for a specific business purpose or activity.
“Accused Ch Moonis Elahi controls both of these SPVs” (one directly and other one is controlled indirectly through his family member). This clearly shows that accused M Nawaz Bhatti and Mazhar Abbass utilised their identities and acted on behalf of Ch Moonis Elahi to conceal the source and nature of ill-gotten funds/proceeds used to establish RYK Mills Ltd,” according to the FIR.
It went on to say that “Makhdum Omar Shehryar (Executive Director of the then proposed RYK Mills Ltd) applied for issuance of NOC (non-objection certificate) for setting up the sugar mill through an application to the Secretary Industries, Punjab on June 25, 2007, which was accordingly approved by the Ministry of Industries Punjab and the CM Punjab Office in July 2007.”
Pervaiz Elahi, the current Punjab Assembly Speaker and Moonis’ father, was the Punjab chief minister at the time, according to the FIR, and his “culpability will be assessed throughout the probe.”
Furthermore, Shahryar and his brother-in-law Tarik Jawaid possessed 30.59 percent of the mill’s shares as of 2020, and “the origin and nature of their investment of ill-gotten funds/proceeds is also unexplained,” according to the report.
The investigation confirmed Moonis, Bhatti, Abbas, Shehryar, Jawaid, Wajih, and Muhammad Khan Bhatti were involved in money laundering, according to the FIR.