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Accused Turns Approver Against Yousuf Raza Gilani (TDAP Scandal)

Posted by on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 11:23
This news item was posted in Politics category and has 0 Comments so far .

The key accused in the seven-billion-rupee financial scam in the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), Muhammad Firdous, has turned approver against former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and former federal minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim.

Yousuf Raza Gilani

Yousuf Raza Gilani

In his confessional statement, Firdous has disclosed that he paid Rs5 million to Gilani at the Prime Minister House as the ‘first instalment’ for the release of freight subsidy funds and prepared the freight subsidy corruption plan with the PM’s former jail-mate and friend Faisal Siddique Khan.

He said that 65% of the money was taken by affiliates of Gilani and Fahim, while the remaining 35% was distributed among TDAP officers.

In his affidavit in front of the judicial magistrate, Firdous said that he had family relations with Khan who visited him at the office of Sky Cargo in 2008. Faisal told Firdous that he was financially broke after several legal cases against him in Islamabad.

When Gilani became prime minister after the 2008 elections, Faisal visited Firdous again and offered that he could arrange any favour the latter needed from the prime minister. Firdous, grabbing the opportunity, said that some claims of the Freight Subsidy Scheme 2002-03 were in the doldrums for want of funds. If the prime minister releases the funds, quite a handsome amount of money can be made from exporters as ‘commission’.

Faisal promised to help and explain that they both will visit the Prime Minister House to get this done and some amount will have to be handed over to the PM as the first instalment. With the contributions from other exporters, Firdous accumulated Rs5 million and went to the PM House along with Faisal.

He paid the money to Muhammad Zubair, the deputy secretary at the prime minister, and also met Gilani later. They had another meeting and – in exchange – Rs436 million was released on the directives of the then PM to be paid as freight subsidy.

Faisal also had a meeting with the then TDAP chief executive, Syed Muhibullah Shah. After the funds were released, Firdous, TDAP brokers Mian Muhammad Tariq and Haroon Rasheed Raisani submitted fake claims of bogus companies in consultation with Faisal.

About 90 per cent of the amount of the freight subsidy was paid to these bogus companies. However, real claims in pending were paid using the rest of the 10% of the subsidy amount, according to Firdous.

Since records at the National Bank of Pakistan were destroyed, a series of payment of billions of rupees in freight subsidy were continuously paid year after year to phony companies, he explained. The amount looted this way was distributed between two groups: one was of former federal commerce minister Amin Faheem, which included Iftikhar Ifti, Shahid Khan, Ministry of Commerce Director Sikandar Ali Shah and Farhan Junejo; the second group was spearheaded by Yousaf Raza Gilani and included Faisal Siddique Khan, Mian Muhammad Tariq, Haroon Rasheed Raisani and the approver himself.

Later, Gilani and Faisal developed differences over the division of embezzled money and the whole business of handling corruption was handed over to Farhan Junejo.

Meanwhile, Tariq Iqbal Puri had been appointed TDAP’s chief executive and all the matters related to corruption were settled at his brother’s house instead of the PM House. The share of the prime minster and Amin Fahim was raised from 65% to 70%.

The Federal Investigating Agency (FIA) has registered more than 65 cases in the freight subsidy financial scandal while dozens of officers, including two former TDAP chiefs, owners of the bogus companies and brokers who were front men, have been arrested.

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