Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar has said the government is going to take legal action against 32 benami companies, allegedly belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari.
“Action would be taken against benami properties as per law of the country and the money recovered from such benami properties and companies would be deposited to the national exchequer.
“All such [alleged] benami properties of Asif Ali Zardari would be confiscated – as per law – if he failed to produce documents proving legality of such properties within 60 days,” Akbar said on Tuesday while addressing a press conference along with Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi.
He made it clear that the government would continue taking action against money laundering, benami properties and benami companies and trades. Prime Minister Imran Khan would now receive briefing on this matter on a fortnightly and monthly basis, he said.
Sharing their details, the PM’s aide said these companies include sugar mills, construction companies, cement factory, trading companies, automobile manufacturing companies, holding companies, consultant firms and gas companies etc.
Companies attributed to Zardari
These companies include Al-Miftah (Pvt) Ltd, Sky Pak (Pvt) Ltd, Seracom Stock and Capital (Pvt) Ltd, Alfa Zulu Company (Pvt) Ltd, Paramount Builders and Devs (Pvt) Ltd, New Thatta Sugar Mills (Pvt) Ltd, Pak Ethanol (Pvt) Ltd, Bandhi Sugar Mills Ltd, Rubicon Builders and Devs (Pvt) Ltd, Seracom Builders and Devs (Pvt) Ltd, Parthenon (Pvt) Ltd, Pak Track (Pvt) Ltd, Vanguard Sugar Mills (Pvt) Ltd.
The list of these properties also include Sindhri Sugar Mills (Pvt) Ltd, Princeton Builders and Devs (Pvt) Ltd, Diamond Builders and Devs (Pvt) Ltd, Sujawal Agro Farms (Pvt) Ltd, Benazirabad Facilities (Pvt) Ltd, Orient Automotive Industries (Pvt) Ltd, Karachi Gas Company (Pvt) Ltd, Bandhi Powergen Company (Pvt) Ltd, Triton LPG (Pvt) Ltd, Abaseen Environment Management Company, Quality Control (Pvt) Ltd, Wahaj Wind Energy, Malir Warehouse, Omni Welfare Foundation and Belpaktractors (Pvt) Ltd.
Moreover, he said, several benami plots in posh areas of Karachi have also been identified.
He said the report by a joint investigation team (JIT) of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had pointed out that Zardari was involved in undermining the state system by establishing even a bank without implementing legal formalities and paying capital.
“For the first time a benami bank was formed in the country for money laundering.
“When in 2013-14, the State Bank of Pakistan asked for paying of capital, they paid it through a local account from fake companies. So far four references have been filed against him [PPP supreme leader] out of the expected 30 references,” he claimed.
Akbar said the government has started taking action in line with the Benami Act 2017, as earlier it was inactive due to absence of rules which now have been formulated.
He said the government would soon also start confiscating properties of sons and sons-in-law of the Sharif family who have been declared proclaimed offenders by court.
Ali Zaidi said the country’s wealth was shifted abroad through money laundering causing a huge loss to the national exchequer. He claimed that former president Zardari established sugar mills and other properties through threat and extortion.
“[Famous gangster] Uzair Baloch has also accepted that Zardari had made all the properties and assets by using his influence and threatening people,” he alleged.
Zaidi said they would continue informing nation about the corruption in past and actions of the government to recover the country’s looted money. (Tribune July 17, 2019)