Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa, Chairman of CPEC and an aide of PM Imran Khan, could face further trouble over major corruption charges involving his immediate family members and missing records of embezzlement.
Digital footprints of the official website of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) show that someone within SECP deleted the online records of five of six companies owned by Asim Saleem Bajwa’s family members after investigations were launched into the assets accumulated by the family during the retired general’s military career, ET has learnt.
The five companies whose data was deleted belonged to the general’s sons, whereas the one company whose data date remained throughout on the website belongs to the general’s brothers, according to a report by Pak-based investigative journalism platform ‘Fact Focus’.
The SECP is responsible for regulating all companies in Pakistan and its work is expected to be independent of political influence. SECP Chairman Amir Khan has declined to comment on the matter, according to Fact Focus.
On July 21, FactFocus began a probe into SECP website pages that included records of the companies owned by the sons of Asim Bajwa in Pakistan and other countries. Original images of some of the records, the digital footprints, were to be used as attachments so readers could view the information and verify the dates of capturing of digital evidence by checking the ‘properties’ of the files, according to Fact Focus.
“But sometime during the national holiday weekend of Friday, July 31 to Sunday, August 2, while people were celebrating the Eid-ul-Zuha religious festival, someone at SECP was busy deleting the online record of companies owned by Bajwa’s sons: Muhammad Saleem Bajwa, Eusha Saleem Bajwa, and Azib Saleem Bajwa,” alleged Fact Focus.
On the following Monday, August 3, the first working day after the Eid holidays, the Fact Focus team observed the deletion of the records of companies owned by the Bajwa sons. Fact Focus checked the SECP website time and again from different computers and locations around the world. All records of these companies were gone. The SECP website provides details of the directorship of the companies which was deleted.
Fact Focus continued to save the digital footprint. The records remained missing until Friday, August 28 in Pakistan, several hours after Fact Focus published its story on the Bajwa family business empire and it began circulating on social media. The story specifically described the tampering of data on the SECP website.
Bajwa resigned recently from the post of Imran’s adviser after allegations that he used his offices to help family set up several off-shore businesses.
Former Pakistan Army spokesman Bajwa, who also served as Commander of the Southern Command, rejected the allegations against him and resigned as special assistant to the prime minister (SAPM) on information and broadcasting.
However, he would continue working as chairman of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority.