ISLAMABAD -  A parliamentary committee on Wednesday expressed displeasure over silence of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) on the corruption allegedly committed by a Chinese company Yabaite in the Multan Metro Bus project. 

The Senate Standing Committee on Finance, which met in the chair of Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, discussed alleged corruption of $17.5 million in the Multan Metro Bus project. The committee chairman said that he was not satisfied with the performance of SECP in this case. “The SECP should have investigated this case with other concerned departments,” Mandviwalla said and added that when the Chinese government is investigating the case then why our departments are not paying heed to it. He further said that for the first time a foreign country had asked the SECP to investigate an allegation. The SECP’s officials are not giving factual details about the issue.

The SECP officials informed the committee that they could not initiate any investigation in Pakistan unless China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) completes its investigation. The SECP had also forwarded a case to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

They informed the CSRC approached the SECP in December 2016 for its assistance limited to the provision of information and certain documents, without sharing all the details of its investigations. The CSRC has also sought assistance from the SECP in the matter of its investigation against the Yabaite for its disclosure in violation of Chinese securities laws.

The committee was informed that the Yabaite China claimed that it worked in the Multan Metro Bus Project as a sub-contractor of the Capital Engineering and Construction Co Ltd as according to the CSRC. The Capital Engineering and Construction Co Ltd is not registered with the SECP . Similarly, the SECP could not find address of the Capital Engineering and Construction Company in Pakistan.

They further told the committee the CSRC shared two letters that acknowledged and appreciated the Yabaite China contribution in the Multan Metro Bus Project, purportedly signed by the Chief Minister Punjab, Senator Kalsoom Parveen, and Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed and dully attested by the official of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Yabaite China produced these letters before the CSRC as evidence, in support of its alleged involvement in Multan metro bus construction project. The CSRC requested the SECP’s assistance in contacting the mentioned persons, verifying their identities, and asking them to answer certain questions. After soliciting the approval from the Commission, letters were sent out to the Chief Secretary Punjab, Senator Kalsoom Parveen, Senator Mushahid Hussain and Secretary MOFA, seeking response to the questions raised by the CSRC and to verify the authenticity of the letters produced by the Yabaite China before the CSRC.

However, they denied signing of any such letter and advised that the letter is a forgery. The responses on above-referred correspondence with the office of Chief Minister Punjab, Senator Kalsoom Parveen and Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed were subsequently shared with the CSRC.

The Senate Standing Committee also discussed audit reports of the government’s ministries and divisions. The officials of the Auditor General of Pakistan informed that around Rs387 billion irregularities were observed in 293 cases. 

The committee has decided to take the audit cases as a single point agenda in its next meeting. The committee would look into the cases of fraud and embezzlement in addition to those pertaining to misappropriation of over Rs100 million.