KARACHI: An accountability court on Saturday sentenced the former chairman of National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) Ayaz Khan Niazi and five other people to seven years in prison for their involvement in a corruption case.
The convicts were also disqualified from hold any public office for 10 years. The other convicts are Amin Qasim Dada, Hur Rihai Gardezi, Amir Hussain, Zahid Hussain and Mohammad Zahoor.
The six were involved in embezzling NICL funds to buy 10 acres of land in Karachi’s Korangi area.
According to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), all convicts had caused a combined loss of more than Rs400 million to the national treasury.
Apart from embezzling NICL funds to buy land in Korangi, Ayaz Niazi is also named in four other corruption cases that are currently being heard in accountability courts in Lahore.
The NICL corruption scandal revolves around the alleged misuse of authority for Niazi’s appointment, hampering the investigation process regarding his appointment, and corruption committed by the accused along with others, including Mohsin Habib Warraich.
The story of the over Rs6 billion NICL scam broke in 2009-10 when Mohsin Warraich’s company, Messrs Privilege, purchased 803 kanals from the NICL at Mauza Toor, Lahore, for a sum of Rs1.68b. The company allegedly sold the land without getting the property mutated in its favour.
The NICL also sold land measuring 20 kanals near the Lahore Airport Road to Mohsin Warraich for Rs1.7b. It sold the land at a rate of Rs5.3 million per kanal, although its market value was much higher.
Initially the scam was being investigated by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), but was transferred to NAB in 2014 on the directives of the Supreme Court.
In November last year, Niazi was named in leaked Paradise Papers in connection with four offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands.
One of four was a trust named Andalusian Discretionary Trust, while the other three were companies, Andalusian Holdings Limited, Andalusian Enterprises Limited, and Andalusian Establishment Limited.
All three companies were established when Niazi was NICL chairman in 2010.
In the records of the companies, Niazi’s two brothers, Muhammad Ali Khan Niazi and Hussain Khan Niazi were shown as beneficial owners while Ayaz, his father Abdul Razaq Khan and mother Fauzia Razzaq named as directors.