ISLAMABAD: A special court of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Friday indicted former Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) chairman Zafar Hijazi in a record tampering case pertaining to Chaudhry Sugar Mills owned by the Sharif family.
According to the charge sheet, Hijazi had coerced his subordinates to change dates on documents related to the sugar mills.
Hijazi pleaded not guilty to the charges before the special court judge, Iram Niazi.
His counsel argued that the statement of SECP officer, Maheen Fatima, was not solid enough to initiate trial proceedings against Hijazi. However, the prosecutor opposed the remarks, following which Hijazi was indicted.
The hearing in the case was then adjourned until November 10 and the witnesses will be notified for the trial.
An accountability court on October 20 had deferred the indictment of former Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) chairman Zafar Hijazi in a record tampering case due to the non-availability of the prosecutor.
During the hearing, the special judge had to frame charges against Hijazi in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills record tampering case, but the hearing was adjourned until October 27 due to the absence of the prosecutor.
The accused was provided with the charge-sheet during an earlier hearing of the case on September 26.
Hijazi, who had been out on bail, has been booked in the case in the wake of the Supreme Court’s order in the Panama Papers case for allegedly tampering with financial records of the Sharif family’s company.
Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) official Maheen Fatima, in July this year claimed that she had been forced to change her statement to the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) under duress.
Speaking in front of the Senate Standing Committee of Finance, Fatima alleged that former SECP chief Zafar Hijazi locked her in a room on June 14 had alleged that she was locked in a room for talking to the Panama JIT.
“On June 14, I was locked in a room for talking to the JIT members and telling them the factual position regarding closing of the mill’s files,” she stated.
She claimed that Hijazi ordered the case to be closed in back dates as Chaudhry Sugar Mills would have to face consequences if the case was closed in current dates. “Hijazi issued orders to close the case on note sheet, and not make a [formal] report,” Fatima added.
Subsequently, an FIA inquiry team found Hijazi guilty of tampering the records of companies owned by the Sharif family. The team submitted a 28-page inquiry report to the Supreme Court on July 9, in which it had endorsed the stance of the JIT probing the offshore assets of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family in connection with the Panama gate case.
Hijazi’s lawyer, however, had argued in court that SECP staffers did not tamper records of Chaudhry Sugar Mills under duress. Both the SECP officers named in the case had acted on their own, his lawyer had said.
The former SECP chief was physically remanded to FIA’s custody for another three days after his four-day remand expired on July 26.