About the Bank of Punjab scam I had put up this post on Dec 02, 2009:
Well today we find out I was right on the money. The News tells us:
And The Nation confirms it:
The News tells us:
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman has approved the plea bargain request of the major culprits of the Bank of Punjab (BoP) Rs 9 billion fraud scandal, giving them a clean chit to live a free bird’s life, The News has learnt.
The executive board meeting of the NAB on Wednesday approved the plea bargain/voluntary return of 18 accused of the BoP scandal and settled the matter for Rs 8.4 billion, which is the estimated price of assets surrendered by Sheikh Afzal and others of the Harris Steel Mills.
“The NAB will produce this deal along with other documents before the Supreme Court on Thursday (11-02-2010) and will follow directions of the apex court in this regard,” one of the attendants of the meeting said on condition of anonymity.
He said the NAB was letting the accused go unpunished without even recovering the full amount embezzled. “This would be make the law look like a joke.“
Indeed it does make “the law look like a joke“. What makes it even more so is the fact that one of the star witnesses and co-accused former President of BoP, Hameesh Khan is yet to make his appearance as he awaits extradition to Pakistan. He was expected to reveal much so a plea bargain at this time would certainly shut him up as he can be certain he has nothing to gain fromtelling the
The only thing left to see is if that holy SC goes along with it. Will SC accept it? If the SC accepts it, that certainly will strip Iftikhar Chaudhry of his robe and show SC emperor in his new clothes. Let me be bold here and state I am betting all my money on this. SC WILL accept this plea bargain and say “Great Job, NAB!” and the Chief Justice WILL give a bunch of speeches taking credit for the recovered money and he will lie how ‘justice was served’ in this case and ‘stolen monies recovered’. I am betting my money on it because I have already seen him protecting these criminals and treating them like celebrities and directing NAB to be nice to them (e.g. read this to see him protect one of the accused Seth Yaqoob who is an old papi). I am betting my money on it because I have watched SC not take notice of the missing Rs 4 Billion. I am betting my money on it because I have seen the SC ignore the major culprits of this scam who stole more than Rs 160 billion (you can read more about the people involved at the ‘BoP Scam – The Fix Is On Again‘ link above)
Of course this whole ‘accountability’/’doing away with the NRO’ bit is a sham and we are being fooled by the court and the honorable judges. To show you what a crock it is, let me relate you the case of one NRO-beneficiary that I know personally. He ran away from the country about 10 years ago to avoid arrest. By his own admission, he managed to escape with Rs 19 crore (keep in mind this figure DOES NOT include the monies he left stashed here somewhere nor the value of the properties he bought with his ill-gotten gains). During these years on the run, he spent time in Dubai, New York, and Toronto. With the NRO signed, he came back to the country, got his son married to a rich doctor, but seeing the channged political scene (“it had become too corrupt” even for him), and with the NRO in doubt, he left the country againand went back to Dubai. Later I heard that he might be coming back soo as NAB was offering him a sweet deal: “Pay just Rs 3 crore and all will be forgiven!” (Remember he stole more than 19 crores and that too in 1990’s rupees when the dollar was around Rs 10). Well I was still suprised to run into him at the wedding last week (and seeing him shake the hands of Justice Ramday who too was present there did make me feel dirty so I avoided both). Surprised because I had thought with the NRO cancelled he certainly would stay away from the country but then I remembered that NAB offer and thought he must have paid up. Upon a later inquiry I was told nothing like that had happened. He was not even going to pay the Rs 3 crore because he said he didn’t see the need. Instead he was here because he WANTED to get convicted to get it over with. He says he will then appeal and is assured that process would be dragged for at least 20 years or more i.e. until he passes away (since this fella is past 60 years of age).
So my friends, this is ‘justice’ and ‘accountability’ by ‘a free judiciary’ in this ‘land of the pure’!!!
(a small note to follow on Justice Ramday later on today as I have to go run an errand)
UPDATE: This story below tells me I might be about to loose my bet money but I’ll do that gladly:
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has expressed annoyance over non-suspension of the NAB chairman, and termed it a sheer disrespect on part of the government of the verdict of 17-member bench of the Supreme Court. During the hearing of Harris Steel Mill case, the CJ remarked that under which law, bargaining has been made with the accused of the Harris Steel Mill scam. The counsel of Bank of Punjab told the court that so far around Rs 8 billion has been recovered in the fraud case, adding that NAB is cutting Rs 200 million as commission.