ISLAMABAD: Lieutenant General (r) Asim Saleem Bajwa on Thursday categorically refuted all corruption allegations levelled against him and resigned from the post of special assistant to prime minister on information and broadcasting, however, he will continue to remain the chairman of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority.
Defending the businesses and enterprises owned by his brothers in countries abroad, he said that shameless allegations were levelled against him to tarnish his image.
Lt Gen Bajwa, in rejoinder to a story published on an “unknown website”, lamented that the allegations were “false and incorrect”. He insisted that on the date of filing of his declaration, i.e. June 22, 2020, his spouse was no longer an investor or shareholder in any business of his brothers.
“My wife had disinvested all her interests as at 01.06.2020 in any entity abroad and such fact has been duly documented in the official records in the USA. It may be pointed out that the company registered in the SECP [Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan] in Pakistan was Liaison Office of the companies in the USA,” he maintained.
About the investments abroad, Lt Gen Bajwa said that since 2002 till June 1, 2020 his wife had only invested $19,492 in his brothers’ companies. He said that all investments came from his savings over the last 18 years, and no regulations of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) have been broken.
Concerning the alleged investment of businesses in the pizza chain Papa John’s in the US and DQ, UAE, Lt Gen Bajwa said that facts and figures were fully documented.
He insisted that Bajco Global Management, LLC did not have any ownership interest in any Papa John’s in the USA, DQ, UAE or any real estate.
“The author further makes a false claim that Bajco owns 99 companies. The author has listed many companies multiple times on his list. There is a total of 27 active companies in the US and two in the UAE,” he said.
“For eighteen years, the actual out of pocket cash investment into the said businesses by my brothers and wife has been about US$73,950/-. It is further pointed out that out of US $73,950/-, my wife’s contribution, as stated aforesaid, is US$19,492/-. Thus, the total out of pocket cash contribution of my five brothers, for eighteen years, has been US$54,458/-,” Lt Gen Bajwa added.
He added that the cash contributions of $54,458 by his five brothers were fully accounted for and traceable to their sources. He further said that apart from his five brothers and his wife, the businesses have at least 50 other investors. He maintained that any further investments were a result of profits generated from the business, while also mentioning the various qualifications of his five brothers as a source of income.
“One question that may be underscored is whether three persons who have worked in the USA up to the positions of a Vice President in a US Bank, a Controller in a restaurant operating company, and as an operating partner of a restaurant; and two persons having worked as doctors, would not be able to save US$54,458/-,” argued Lt Gen Bajwa.
Responding to the allegations made about businesses of his children, he said that the company Scion Builders and Estates (Pvt.) Ltd owned by his sons and registered in the SECP had never done any business and same is dormant since inception. He said the same about other businesses owned by his sons, namely Advance Marketing (Pvt.) Ltd, Scion Natura LLC, and Mochi Cordwainers.
Regarding an allegation about a house owned by his son’s Scion Management Group LLC, he asserted that the house was only 31,000 and had been bought by his sons through their independent resources in “cheap foreclosure proceedings”.
“Baseless allegations have been levelled that a business entity of my two brothers by the name of Silkline Enterprises (Pvt.) Ltd has been formed to acquire CPEC contracts. It may be stated that this company has never acquired any CPEC contract. This company is in Rahim Yar Khan and has only provided labour/human resources to industries in Rahim Yar Khan region,” he added.
He said that one of his sons owns a house in the USA but it has been acquired through a mortgage in the manner that 80 per cent of loan/mortgage remains unpaid.
“This again is a small time-house. All my sons are above 18 years and none are my dependents. Masha’Allah their ages are 33, 32 and 27 years respectively. It shall be noted that my sons completed their business degrees from reputable universities in the United States and have had well-paying jobs,” concluded the retired general.
On August 27, a website known as Fact Focus published a story, claiming that Lt Gen Bajwa’s family had set up 99 companies in four countries, including a pizza franchise with 133 restaurants.
The website further claimed that Lt Gen (r) Bajwa’s wife was a “shareholder” in at least 86 companies. Of them, 71 were set up in the US, seven in the UAE and four in Canada.
Lt Gen (r) had already responded to the story on August 27. He had termed the story “malicious propaganda”.
“A malicious propaganda story published on an unknown site, against me and my family, (just uploaded on social media) is strongly rebutted,” he had said in a tweet.
Later, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz also took to Twitter to inform his followers that the former military official would issue a clarification over the news story about his assets.
“I just talked to Asim Bajwa sahab,” Faraz had tweeted. “He will clarify the news stories about his assets in detail in a few days.”
Source: Pakistan Today