Supreme Court forms JIT to investigate Panama case


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court's special bench on Friday constituted the six-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) headed by Wajid Zia Additional Director of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to probe Panama Papers case.

Other members of the investigation team include Brigadier Muhammad Nauman Saeed from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI); Brigadier Kamran Khurshid from the Military Intelligence (MI); Amer Aziz from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP)' Bilal Rasool, an executive director at the Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP); and Irfan Naeem Mangi, a Director at the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The special bench directed the JIT to commence and complete the investigation and submit its final report in terms of the order dated April 20, 2017. The court also sought fortnightly progress reports as stipulated in the said order.

The court directed the Secretary Interior to ensure necessary security arrangements for the Secretariat and the members of the JIT.

The bench directed that the Secretariat of the JIT should be housed in the Building of the Federal Judicial Academy, Islamabad where they should be provided adequate office accommodation and related facilities. The requisite approval has been obtained from the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

"Since the JIT in connection with the investigation would need funds, the Federal Government is directed to provide them necessary funds. We direct the Federal Government to initially provide an amount to the tune of rupees twenty million forthwith so that the JIT may not feel handicapped in its movement in any direction. The funds shall be placed at the disposal of the head of the JIT," the special bench ordered.

The court ordered that the head and members of the JIT should arrange secretarial staff of their choice from their respective departments. The JIT would also be at liberty to utilize the expertise available in their departments and any other department of the federal or provincial governments as and when required by it.

The bench also ordered that the boarding, lodging and transportation of the members of JIT shall also be provided by their respective departments in accordance with the rules.

"The JIT shall have the power to engage and associate local and/or foreign experts to facilitate the investigation and collection of evidence in line with the letter and spirit of order dated 20.04.2017 of this court," the bench ordered.

"The JIT shall have all the powers given by the law relating to investigation including those available in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, National Accountability Bureau Ordinance, 1999 and the Federal Investigation Agency Act, 1975," it also ordered.

The bench ordered that the JIT, in essence and substance, would act on the direction of the Supreme Court, all the executive authorities throughout Pakistan would act in aid of the JIT.

"If and when any person fails or refuses to associate with or appear before the JIT or refuses to cooperate or provide oral or documentary information required by it, the same be immediately brought to the notice of the court for taking appropriate action," the court ordered.

Further proceedings of the case would be held on May 22. (APP)