ISLAMABAD – The Chief of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has 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 claim 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.

The statement follows a media report which claimed that the SECP officials did tamper with the documents of the Chaudhry Sugar Mills on SECP chairman’s orders.

Panama JIT’s allegation regarding record tampering by SECP proved: report

The joint investigation team (JIT) which is probing into Sharif family’s offshore assets in line with the Supreme Court’s April 20 verdict in Panamagae case had earlier alleged that the SECP tampered with records of the sugar mills.

The Supreme Court three-judge special bench – overseeing implementation of the Panamagate verdict – had later directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to probe the allegation and Hijazi and some other senior SECP officers appeared in this connection before the four-member FIA team on Thursday.

“I have explained my position to the FIA team… I am not supposed to give any version publicly. However, once the inquiry is completed, I will definitely explain my position publicly to my countrymen,” Hijazi’s statement added.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gestures as he speaks to media after appearing before a Joint Investigation.

The news report claimed that investigations into alleged money laundering by Chaudhry Sugar Mills was closed in 2013 but it did not reflect in files of the SECP and that later in 2016 the SECP chairman Hijazi forced his subordinates to tamper with old files to show closure of inquiry in backdates in 2013.

An FIA team – headed by its director Maqsoodul Hassan and comprising deputy directors Hazrat Ali, Tahir Tanveer and Ayaz Khan – is currently probing the allegations.

Besides Hijazi, the other SECP officials who gave statements before the FIA team include Ali Azeem, Maheem Fatima and Abid Hussain.