Karachi: Businessman jailed for 7 years in fraud case
KARACHI: An accountability court on Wednesday sentenced a businessman to seven years in prison in a graft reference. The court found Shaikh Shahid Umar guilty of receiving money from a Malaysian firm but failing to fulfil his obligations for the export of dioctyl phthalate (DOP) in 2003. However, the court extended the benefit of doubt to co–accused Faisal Shaikh and acquitted him.
Judge Syed Kausar Ali Bukhari of the Accountability Court-II pronounced his verdict after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides. The court also imposed a fine of Rs500,000 and directed that if the amount was recovered the same be deposited in government treasury. In case of non-payment, the convict would have to undergo an additional six-month imprisonment.
“It is further ordered that all the assets in his (accused) name or in the name of his dependent or benamidar be forfeited and be sold out accordance with law and money so recovered be paid to the CJ Polymer Sdn Bhd Malaysian Company in accordance with the law,” the court ruled.
The court in its verdict observed that according to the evidence placed on record it was established that accused Shaikh Shahid inked an agreement with the Malaysian company as proprietor of the Queens’ Polyester to export DOP.
He was operating an account in which the Malaysian firm remitted $104,800 and he withdrew the entire amount, but did not fulfil his obligations, it added.
The court further said that the prosecution brought sufficient evidence which constituted the offence defined in Section 9(a) and punishable under Section 10 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.
However, the court ruled that the case of co-accused Faisal Shaikh was on a different footing as he neither received payment nor was directly involved in the transaction and the only charged against him was that he wrote a letter to the Malaysian firm on the letter pad of a petrochemical company. But in the absence of such letter the case against him became doubtful and the benefit of doubt was given to the accused, it concluded.
According to the reference (23/2007) filed by the National Accountability Bureau, Sindh, Shaikh Shahid Umar and his son Faisal Shaikh of Queens’ Polyester entered into a deal with a Malaysian firm to export 160 metric tonnes of DOP at a total cost of 104,800 US dollars. Faisal Shaikh fraudulently issued a letter to the importers on the letter pad of a petrochemical firm posing as its export manager and offered export of DOP, it added.
As per agreement, the importers remitted the money to the account of Shaikh Shahid in advance who later withdrew it. The importers had asked the accused for reimbursement of the money when they came to know that the petrochemical firm had not placed any order for DOP export. However, the accused misappropriated the amount, the reference said.
The accused was on bail and following the pronouncement of the verdict he was taken into custody and sent to jail along with his conviction warrant to serve out the sentence.