In the investigation into cases against a Pakistani fugitive abroad for his suspected involvement in transnational financial crimes and money laundering, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has summoned another former chief, Saud Mirza, for Tuesday (today).
Former FIA director general (DG) Bashir Memon has already testified in front of an investigation team for allegedly assisting the fugitive, Umar Farooq Zahoor, who has been wanted by Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, and Pakistan for various financial and other offences since 2009-10.
The agency said in a call-up notice to Saud Mirza that the current investigation by the FIA Lahore revealed that the suspect was “unlawfully facilitated by FIA in evading apprehension in 2013-14 when you [Saud Mirza] were the DG,” rather than being investigated for his transnational crimes leading to money laundering.
“In 2013-14, you (Mirza) extended him an unlawful favour by moving Interpol Lyon for the cancellation of a Red Notice issued against him on the request of DIG investigation Lahore police and FIA director Punjab in your capacity as FIA DG and head of the [National Central Bureau (NCB)] Interpol Islamabad.” Interpol Lyon cancelled the aforementioned Red Notice in response to your illegal request.”
“It has come to light from NCB Interpol Islamabad’s record that you [Mirza] withdrew Interpol yellow notices issued for the search and repatriation of abducted minors Zainab Umar and Zuneirah Umar (illegally removed from lawful custody of mother Khushbakht Mirza and transported abroad on counterfeit IDs/travel documents) without any justifiable cause,” the FIA added.
The agency ordered Saud Mirza to appear before an investigative team on Tuesday (today) and answer whether he tried to find out if the crime proceeds of $12 million (Swiss Bank Fraud Zurich 2004) or 89 million Norwegian kroners (Nordea Bank Fraud Oslo 2010) had been laundered to Pakistan (either directly or indirectly), as the NCBs Interpol Bern and Oslo had already pointed out.
“Why did you accept Zahoor’s (a private person’s) plea for the cancellation of the Red Notice issued against him in clear contravention of Article 33 of Interpol’s Constitution?” Given that Zahoor had been granted protected bail by the Sindh High Court, the Red Notice issued for his arrest could only have been deferred or placed on hold to allow him to return to Pakistan to participate in the investigation of the cases against him. Wasn’t getting the Red Notices dismissed on the basis of the protective bail acquired by an internationally sought fugitive/conman an illegal favour? Why did you, as the Director of NCB Islamabad, remove the Red Notice issued against Zahoor, despite the fact that the then-director of the FIA Punjab had specifically told NCB Interpol Islamabad that he was sought in FIA AHTC Lahore’s FIR no 464/2009?” the notification inquired