Recently Bank of Punjab (BoP) scam that I talked about in ‘Aitzaz Exposed – Part II‘ (read it to get some background of the scam) has been back in the news as the Supreme Court has been actively perusing it. But what I found most curious is the fact that although it was a Rs 13 billion scam, ALL (but one) news stories have been referring to as only a Rs 9 Billion scam.
So I got to wondering exactly where did the Rs 4 Billion go?
Rumors I heard was that Rs 3 Billion had gone to Zardari himself as he had promised to ‘take care’ of the matter — of course he took the money and ran — but that left Rs 1 Billion still accounted for. My personal theory is that that Rs 1 Billion was pocketed by the attorneys representing Chaudhry Afzal & Co, the main accused. And what a group it is with names like Syed Sharifuddin
Pirzada Haramzada, Wasim Sajjad Kutta, two former Prosecutors Generals of NAB Irfan Qadir, Naveed Rasool Mirza and Fake “Dr” Babar Awan Haywan joined the legal team to defend Haris Steel. Of course the addition of Aitzaz‘s name to this list was the subject of that post of mine but two names I neglected to add were that of just-removed-for-corruption former AG Latif Khosa and former removed-for-corruption judge and former AG Malik Qayuum. Well I should have known better that they too would not miss their share in this looting.
Well now my theory has been confirmed. Yes, indeed the lawyers have made a killing:
Just how many lawyers were ‘friends’ of Dogar Court? Top legal guns accused of bilking Harris Steel
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
By Umar Cheema
ISLAMABAD: Former attorney general Latif Khosa is facing an allegation of having received a bribe for securing a friendly judgment from the former Dogar supreme court. Well, it transpires that he may soon have some august company as three other high profile lawyers, including an influential member of the ruling dispensation, have also been accused of a somewhat similar action by a business tycoon.
Sheikh Munir, a director of Haris Steel Industries, implicated in the Punjab Bank scandal, has submitted a dossier to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), exposing the names of the three legal gurus who allegedly robbed him blind, promising him a bailout through ‘friendly judges’ in the Abdul Hameed Dogar Supreme Court.
Although he invested heavily on more than three lawyers, those allegedly lined up with pledges to pursue his petition through the agency of friendly judges include a sitting minister, the legal guru of all dictators, Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, and former attorney general Justice (retd) Malik Qayyum.
“Pirzada assured us that he would win the case in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) due to his relations with Justice Sardar Aslam (the then Chief Justice of the IHC). The litigant paid a whopping Rs 40 million for the case and seeking a favourable decision. This chunk of money is apart from the dues claimed for various other applications filed,” Sheikh Munir’s statement said. But as the case was transferred to the Supreme Court, “Pirzada left us”.
[My Note: And this is where Aitzaz came in and offered his stupid argument — see under ‘AITZAZ JUMPS IN WITH HIS PIG BROTHERS’ at the ‘Aitzaz Exposed -Part II’ link on top or read The News story by Mohammed Noorani]
Haris Steel Industries paid to the sitting minister (who is not being named because he has not yet given his side of the story to The News) equivalent to the sum handed to Pirzada, i.e. Rs 40 million. The reason for betting on this minister was his claim that “all the judges in the Supreme Court are known to me and, therefore, I can get a favourable decision.”
UPDATE Nov 25: Today we are certain the “minister” is none other than Babar Awan.
The fee paid to Malik Qayyum has not been mentioned by Munir because he does not “know the exact figure as this amount was paid by his brother Irfan Ali. But the director Haris Steel Industries said in his statement that Qayyum also echoed the line of the minister that he was known to the Supreme Court judges and could get the verdict he wished.
But the minister and Qayyum allegedly disappeared after accepting their ‘fees’, Munir said in his statement. “When the minister took his oath he left us. Malik Qayyum left us due to retirement of Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar.”
Talking to The News, Justice Qayyum denied having served as a counsel of the Harris Steel Industries, let alone receiving any fee and making any promises to get a favourable judgment. When approached Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada denied receiving such a big amount. About the allegation of jacking up his fees claiming his relations with judges, Pirzada said he never said so. “I don’t care for winning or losing. You know I have 50-year practice. I have never talked to any client about anything.”
When contacted by The News, the minister declined to comment till he had first read the document allegedly implicating him in the case. As the portion relating to his conduct was read out to him, he again refused to comment unless he had first personally read the contents of the letter sent to the NAB.
Other lawyers who were hired by Haris Steel were Waseem Sajjad and Irfan Qadir, who were reportedly paid Rs20 million each. Munir’s statement however does not carry any allegation of wrong doing against this duo.
Although this story leaves out most of the names (those missing are Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, Wasim Sajjad, Irfan Qadir, Naveed Rasool Mirza, Babar Awan, and Aitzaz Ahsan), it does provide us with additional names of Malik Qayuum and Latif Khosa and that of the CJ of Islamabad High Court, Justice Sardar Aslam (who I am sure got his share as well; remember the case was moved to IHC for this very purpose). The story also confirms the accused owners of Haris Steel Mills were stiffed by the lawyers — a pattern we see repeated in the case against AG Latif Khosa — and gives credence to my belief that Zardari in fact did the same, once the justices were restored and the case moved to Supreme Court.
The story also does not mention some other — I’d say main — beneficiaries of this whole scam, namely Chaudhrys of Gujrat (who set this whole thing up from the beginning and their involvement has recently been in the news as well with Law Minister Punjab stating in Punjab Assembly that Moonis Elahi alone pocketed Rs 5.5 Billion), current Federal Secretary Finance Salman Siddique (then Chief Secretary of Punjab and “Chairman of the Board of Directors of the BoP and the irregularities taken place could not have been committed without his abetment”)
Some unrelated links about Aitzaz to give you a better idea of him:
Former naval chief indicted in $3.369m kickbacks case
(Aitzaz ‘defends’ the most corrupt Admiral Mansurul Haq with the ‘brilliant’ argument that his client was not guilty of receiving kickbacks but at the same time offering to pay back those very same ill-gotten monies in exchage for freedom. Hmmm….Kind of reminds me of NRO-Plus of late — Makes me think: Was Aitzaz the author of that as well? BTW: This case is making headlines again and will be the subject of my next post)
Criminal breach of trust
(From 1995: See how Aitzaz used to spend public money when in power:
1) Advance preparation for PM’s visit: Expenses incurred by Cambridge Chaudhry Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, former law minister Senator Groovy Haider, Adviser Baaji Nahid and their retinue, plus hullagulla wallahs necessary to organise cheer-leaders, to buy off the MQM anti- squads, plus large amounts paid to US lobbyists and PR consultants = US$ 5 million
(2) PM’s special ‘plane, plus backup’ plane cost, expenses plus loss of earning = US$ 2 million.
(3) Other travelling expenses in Pakistan and in the US; hotel
expenses at the Waldorf Astoria, New York (why not PIA’s Roosevelt?), Willard, Washington, and Los Angeles hotels, limousine hire charges; stayover/stayback expenses for PM and family (The Dorchester, London) friends, hangers-on (reportedly 150/180 went in dribs and drabs) = for approx. 10 days, say US$ 1 million.
(4) Advertisements in the Press: 16-page supplement/ads in Washington Post at US$ 63,228 per page, in New York Times at US$ 67,110 per page, Los Angeles Times at US$ 61,340 per page, 8 pages of ads in Time Magazine plus ‘charges’ for portraying our Prime Minister on the cover of the Time (Asian edition only), and advertisements in other US publications = say, US$ 2,250,000
(5) Fashion/cultural show in Washington and Los Angeles, masterminded by the wife of Foreign Secretary Najmuddin Sheikh = US$ 0.5 million.
Say, total debit = US$ 10.75 million x Rs. 31.75 = Rs. 34 crores. Columnist Khalid Hasan from Washington estimated a total of US$ 10.5 million and the editor of Nawa-i-Waqt from Lahore Rs. 35 crores. We three and the people of Pakistan would be very happy were the government to be able to prove us wrong.)
Aitzaz terms rejoinder false
(Another ‘brilliant’ example of defense offered by Aitzaz; Aitzaz claims “Mir Munawwar Ali, is not Zardari’s brother-in-law (Mir Munawwar Ali
Talpur) but some one else.”)
Poisonous sting of Aitzaz Ahsan
(An article by ‘International Professor that talks about the many stings of Aitzaz’s leading up to and including the first Long March. I certainly don’t agree with the author that PML-N was also stung — they certainly were a part of this tag team to sabotage the Lawyers’ Movement)
Aitzaz to receive award in US
(Aitzaz rewarded for being a loyal servant)
Role of Aitzaz Ahsan “?”
(So I am not the only one questioning his role)
Oh, and let’s not forget Aitzaz is the same man, who sold the lists of Sikh militants to India when he was interior minister, and he also got LPG licenses from Benazir as a reward to cover up for her corruption cases (and I thought he claimed he was defending BB for free….).
These days Aitzaz is of course trying to save Zardari’s butt:
NRO beneficiaries already liable to arrest: Aitzaz
NRO not a threat to govt: Aitzaz
No court can summon President of Pakistan: Aitzaz