SC wants appointment of Pakistan Steel Mills CEO

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Attorney General for Pakistan to look into the issue of appointment of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Pakistan Steel.

Mills, besides the appointment of its board of directors, who were alleged to have been involved in corruption.

The three-member bench headed by Justice Javed Iqbal on a suo motu case related to alleged corruption of Rs 18 billion in Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), observed that corruption had increased to Rs 26 billion.

Justice Javed Iqbal told the officers of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) that they should keep in mind that they have to recover Rs 26 billion as PSM was the biggest scam in the country’s history.

“A person, who is involved in small corruption, should be brought to book. Two accused are abroad while six are in the country. We are conscious of the fact that legal provisions are exploited and efforts are being made to linger on the issue,” he added.

Barrister Zafrullah of Pakistan Watan Party apprised the bench that the PSM had to pay Rs 297 million for getting a forensic report of its accounts and Rs 2.5 million to a chartered accountant.

Azam Khan, FIA Director Legal, said that the interim report was being submitted which had been prepared by Awais Haider Audit Company.

He said that they had registered ten cases, which pertained to a loss of Rs 8 billion.

Justice Javed Iqbal told him that they had registered cases against small traders and created havoc.

He observed that big losses were incurred due to Al-Abbas Group, Riaz Lalji and the PSM’s former chairman.

He said that recovery was not possible with mere registration of FIRs (first investigation reports) unless there was substantial evidence on record.

The people, who had created mess, had fled from the country, he added.

Azam apprised the bench that Al-Abbas Group had four companies registered with the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan having Khalid Khan, Bashir Muhammad and Sabeel Sakeena as its directors.

To a bench’s question, he said that Riaz Lalji was not a director after 2008.

He said they were trying to find out whether remittances were transferred to nine bank accounts of Riaz Lalji.

He said with the assistance of Interpol, they were trying to nab the absconding accused.

Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed remarked that FIA officials had no moral courage to tell who was interfering in the issue.

The bench in its order also observed that progress in the case was negligible.

The FIA was also directed to take into account the findings and details contained in a report submitted by the Industries Ministry.

The bench was told that the PSM was in search of a capable person for the post of CEO and that the appointment would be made within days.

Further hearing was adjourned for two weeks.