ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Sunday while hearing a suo moto case regarding fake bank accounts — involving a multi-billion money-laundering scam — ordered to put names of chiefs of three commercial banks and the beneficiaries on the exit control list.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar directed the chief executive officers (CEOs) of Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited (UBL) as well as the officials of State Bank of Pakistan to appear before the court at the next hearing.

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director-General Bashir Mammon told the court that an inquiry regarding the fake accounts was initiated in 2010 on a tip-off and initially four fake accounts were identified.

He said that till now, the FIA has found 29 such accounts including 16 in Summit Bank, eight in Silk Bank and five in UBL.

“These accounts belong to seven people while a total of Rs35 billion were transferred (abroad) through these accounts,” Mammon told the bench.

The chief justice asked the FIA chief to share the names of fake account holders with the court.

The FIA DG said that Tariq Sultan has five accounts in the name of A-one International, Erum Aqeel has two accounts in the name of Ibrahim Linkers, Muhammad Ashraf has one personal account and four accounts in the name of Logistic Trading, Muhammad Iqbal Arain has one personal account and three accounts in the name of Iqbal Metals, Muhammad Umair has one personal account and six accounts in the name of Umair Associates, Adnan Jawad has three accounts in the name of Lucky International and Qasim Ali has three account in the name of Royal International.

He further said that the FIA was in contact with Tariq Sultan and Erum Aqeel while Muhammad Umair was out of the country. He said that Muhammad Ashraf and some others have already approached the Sindh High Court to avoid possible action by the FIA.

The chief justice said that “we can remand their case here in the Supreme Court. We cannot investigate the matter but we can provide you necessary assistance wherever you would require.”  

“Most of the problems of our country would resolve if we get succeeded to stop the white collar crime”, Justice Nisar maintained.

During the hearing, the chief justice remarked that “we can constitute a joint investigation team comprising officials of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the FIA and financial experts to investigate the case.

The chief justice expressed his displeasure over the investigation and asked the FIA chief that “it is a matter of fraud of Rs35 billion and you have not even summoned these people so far”. The FIA DG replied that they have issued summons to all of them and also registered an FIR in this regard.

Justice Nisar questioned how much time the FIA will take to conclude the inquiry and said: “The people with whom you are going to fight will not come to you.”

The bench while adjourning the case for next Thursday issued notices to all the eight people having 29 fake accounts to appear before the court while also summoned CEOs of three banks, officials of the SBP and all beneficiaries of these accounts.

Former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, Tariq Sultan, Erum Aqeel, Muhammad Ashraf and Muhammad Iqbal Arain are among those who have been issued notices to appear before the Supreme Court at the next hearing.

On the other side, Pak Ethanol Private Limited, Nasir Abdullah, Ansari Sugar Mills, Omani Polymer Packages, Chamber Sugar Mills, Agro Farm Thatta, Zardari Group, Parthenon Private Limited, A One International, Lucky International, Logistic Trading, Royal International and Ameer Associate were among the beneficiaries identified in the fake bank accounts case.

The top court also directed SBP to furnish necessary information to the FIA and also ordered to freeze Rs7 billion of Summit Bank deposited in the SBP.

The top court directed Sindh Police Inspector General to ensure the presence of the aforementioned people at next date of hearing. 

Meanwhile, the bench while hearing a case regarding the imposition of tax on petroleum products directed the Attorney General for Pakistan to contact experts to conduct an audit of the imported oil to ascertain whether or not commission was being charged by the middlemen.

The chief justice directed that the government should explain the tax rational on petroleum products and remarked: “We will have to protect the rights of both the government and the general public.”

Top court ordered the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority to provide a record of inspections done in last six weeks and adjourned the hearing till July 14.