ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Tuesday exonerated former Chairman National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) Ayaz Khan Niazi and all the co-accused from charges in the Rs6 billion corruption scam.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Manzoor Malik heard the NAB appeal against the acquittal of the accused. However, the bench turned down the appeal after hearing the arguments of both the sides.

Hur Rihai Gardezi, Amin Qasim Dada, Ameer Hussain and Muhammad Zahoor were the co-accused in the corruption case.

The NICL corruption scandal revolved around the alleged misuse of authority during Niazi’s appointment, hampering the investigation process regarding his appointment and corruption committed by Ayaz Niazi along with others, including Mohsin Habib Warraich. NICL funds were also embezzled in the purchase of 10 acres of land in Korangi.

Accountability Court (AC) Karachi had sentenced Ayaz Khan Niazi and five others to seven years in prison for their involvement in a corruption case. The convicts were also declared unfit to hold any public office for 10 years.

It was November 8 when a two-member bench of the Sindh High Court (SHC) headed by Justice Iqbal Kalharo had overturned the verdict of an accountability court which acquitted Niazi.

Former CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had taken suo motu notice of NICL scam. In his judgment passed in November 2013, the court had noted that the appointment of Ayyaz Khan Niazi as NICL chairman was contrary to section 12 of the Insurance Ordinance, 2000 and rules framed thereunder, as non-transparent, illegal and unwarranted.

More than Rs 6 billion NICL scam had surfaced in 2009-10 when Mohsin Warraich’s company, Messrs Privilege, purchased 803 kanals from the NICL in Lahore for Rs 1.68 billion. The NICL sold the land measuring 20 kanal on the Lahore Airport Road to Mohsin Warraich for Rs 1.7 billion. It sold the land at the rate of Rs 5.3 million per kanal although its market value was much higher.