ISLAMABAD: The various government organisations accused by the Panama case Joint Investigation Team (JIT) of impeding their probe have rejected the charges and submitted their response in the Supreme Court.
Attorney General (AG) Ashtar Ausaf Ali on Friday submitted in court the para-wise replies of all the relevant organisations and ministry.
The JIT, in a report to the apex court’s special implementation bench, had accused the Prime Minister House, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Ministry of Law, Intelligence Bureau (IB) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) of impeding the investigation, pressuring witnesses and threatening JIT members.
The reply states that serious charges have been brought forward against the relevant government departments. The Prime Minister House has rejected charges of pressuring witnesses. It said it appears from the JIT report that the high-profile probe team is tapping the PM House’s phones — which would be an illegal act.
According to the AG’s response, a decision on the JIT’s charges cannot be taken without recording evidence or hearing the point of view of all those involved. It added that this will take time and attention away from the investigation.
The reply suggested that the charges of the JIT can be analysed after the 60-day probe deadline when the JIT has submitted its report to the Supreme Court.
The NAB has said that there was no malafide intention in sending a show-cause notice to its JIT member — Naeem Mangi — as 77 other NAB officers were also sent show-cause notices in light of Supreme Court orders. It stated further that these notices were sent before the JIT was formed.
The FBR has also rejected all charges levelled against it in the JIT report. The JIT first contacted us for providing records on May 8 and then did so on May 25, May 29 and June 8, it was stated. The 40-year-old record that was asked for was sent over as soon as possible, it added further.
The Law Ministry also rejected the accusations of delaying the probe. It said a letter asking for international legal assistance — as instructed by the JIT — was sent in three days. In such cases there is a need to take the foreign and interior ministries on board in light of the rules of business, which the JIT is well-versed with, it added.
The IB — the premier civilian intelligence agency — also rejected hacking any JIT member’s Facebook account, as was alleged in the JIT report.
The investigation into Chaudhry Sugar Mills was closed down in 2013, while the SECP chairman was appointed after it, said the SECP.
The response also stated that the JIT staff is responsible for the leaking of summons, which are not secret anyway.