SECP director spills the beans on how chairman pressurized her to tamper with record
Maheen Fatima, in a statement before Federal Investigation Agency, claimed that her boss Zafar Hijazi forced her to add a statement against the six-member Joint Investigation Team after she appeared before it.
"He asked me to add few lines regarding the aggressive attitude of the JIT and my weeping episode in front of it in the presence of Akif Saeed, Mr Yaser Manzoor, Ms Mussarat Jabeen and Mr Muzaffar Mirza," the statement said.
Maheen, however, did not budge under pressure despite repeated attempts made by the chairman as she was wary of the fact that her statement against JIT could be used in media.
But, the SECP boss again called her on June 15 and forced her to write a statement saying she closed the investigations in 2016, in relevant date, for ensuring compliance of the manual. On the intervention of Mr Tahir, the chairman stopped pressurising her.
After having realised that Maheen was not going to follow the chairman's instructions, the commission called a meeting of all heads of departments the next day, during which SECP official Mr. Mirza pointed out that witnesses of JIT had protection of job and career. The chairman said only protection of job is given, however, transfer can be made and for this purpose SECP has office at Gilgit, thus conveying an indirect 'threatening' message to his staffers.
On June 20, another meeting was convened where Hijazi again asked Maheen to prepare a statement before FIA that the statement during JIT's session was made under duress and coercion.
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The following day, SECP officials including Maheen informed the chairman that the statement before JIT was made on the basis of facts and cannot be changed. This annoyed the SECP head while another official Mr. Mirza threatened Maheen that she was accused and so she should seek legal help as she could not make a statement against herself.
Maheen claimed that the probe against the Sharifs’ sugar mill was closed in May 2013 “on satisfactory explanation by the Company”.
It bears mentioning that the Joint Investigation Team had accused the SECP of tampering with the records in its fortnightly report before the apex court.
Responding to the allegations, SECP affirmed that the record was not tampered with, however, the matter was referred to FIA following which Maheen recorded her statement and blew the lid off how SECP carried out its proceedings back in 2016, before the formation of Joint Investigation Team.
On the other hand, the Chief of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) distanced himself from any possible ‘deficiencies or wrongdoings’ of his ‘subordinates’.
“A head of any organisation cannot be supposed to be aware of any deficiencies or shortcomings in a particular case file nor can he be considered responsible for any such deficiency or wrongdoing,” SECP chairman Zafar Hijazi said while rejecting the claims about his alleged involvement in tampering records related to Sharif’s Chaudhry Sugar Mills.
“If this precedent of allowing subordinates to apportion blame for their omissions or wrongdoings is allowed to be set, every subordinate officer may attribute his failings to the heads of organisation,” Hijazi was quoted as saying in an official handout issued by the SECP on Friday.
Nonetheless, the Joint Investigation Team is in its final round of proceedings and has been ordered to complete its probe by July 10.
Prime Minister's younger son Hassan Nawaz and finance minister Ishaq Dar is appearing before the team today (Monday).
Premier's elder son Hussain Nawaz and daughter Maryam Nawaz would record their statement before the high-powered team on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
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