May 03 , 2017

Panama verdict: SC rejects nominations by SBP, SECP for JIT

ISLAMABAD: A three-member bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the nominations submitted by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) for the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

The bench, headed by Justice Ijaz Afzal Khan and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsen commenced hearing into the implementation of the Panama verdict of the apex court.

The court rejected the nominations and summoned SBP Governor and SECP chairman on May 05, and directed the officials to send a list of all the Grade-18 officers.

Justice Ejaz Afzal said we want neutral and transparent investigations into the matter. "We want members of the JIT to be honest and competent," he remarked.

The nominations we received by the two organizations do not fulfill the criteria set by the court, he observed. The hearing was adjourned till Friday, May 5.

On April 20, a five-member larger bench of the apex court, while announcing its verdict on the Panama Leaks, had ordered the formation of a JIT to investigate the matter.

The court held that the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) would be requested to constitute the Special Bench to ensure implementation of this judgment, so that the investigation into the allegations may not be left in a blind alley.

The court had ruled in the judgment that investigation is required in the matter and ordered the formation of a JIT headed by an official from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) which will submit its report within 60 days.

The court had directed that the JIT shall submit its periodical reports every two weeks before the Special Bench. The court held that in normal circumstances, such exercise could be conducted by the NAB but when its chairman appears to be indifferent and even unwilling to perform his part, constitute a JIT headed by a senior officer of the FIA, not below the rank of Additional Director General, with a team having firsthand experience of investigation into white collar crime and related matters, a representative of the NAB, a nominee of the SECP familiar with the issues of money laundering and white collar crimes, and a nominee of the SBP.

The court had directed that seasoned officers of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) nominated by its director general and a seasoned officer of Military Intelligence (MI) nominated by its director general, be included in the JIT.

The court directed that heads of the aforesaid departments/ institutions shall recommend nominees for the JIT within seven days from the date of announcement of the verdict. In pursuance of the court’s directives, all relevant institutions submitted names of the officers who would be part of the JIT to the apex court as per the stipulated deadline.



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