SC issues notice to Zardari, orders forfeiture of Omni Group properties

SC issues notice to Zardari, orders forfeiture of Omni Group properties

LAHORE: (DNA) – The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari after a joint investigation team pointed to the Zardari Group and Omni Group’s involvement in the mega money laundering scam.

A bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, directed the PPP co-chairman to submit his replies until Dec 31. Meanwhile, it ordered the authorities concerned to forfeit all properties owned by the Omni Group and Zardari Group until a final verdict in the case.

The court gave these directions after going through the report of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) which was tasked to probe the laundering of billions of rupees through fake bank accounts.

CJP Nisar remarked: “This is not a Pakistan which used to be and where government lands were given away.” “These companies used to run expenses of the houses of Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari,” he added.

The summary of the JIT report was displayed on a projector in the courtroom.

The report revealed the Omni Group companies used to pay the Bilwal family’s expenditures to the tune of Rs200 million a month. “Money was funneled through fictitious bank accounts for the construction of Karachi and Lahore Bilawal Houses,” it said.

The land where Bilwal House Lahore had been built was owned by the Zardari Group, the report says and questions if the land was gifted as claimed, then why a hefty amount was paid to purchase it.

The report said the Zardari Group took Rs53.4 billion in loans from various banks, including the Sindh Bank.

During the hearing, the top adjudicator questioned where is model Ayyan Ali. “Did she leave Pakistan because she was not well?” Is there a way to bring the people who flee the country due to health issues back, he further questioned.