ISLAMABAD: China said on Wednesday that it had found no proof of any business ties or capital flow between Jiangsu-based Yabaite Technology Co. Ltd and any Pakistani company or individual.
Addressing a press briefing in Beijing, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said that on May 12, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) issued a public notice that the Jiangsu Yabaite Technology Co. Ltd inflated its operating incomes and profits by fabricating overseas engineering projects from September 2015 to 2016.
“The CSRC, along with the relevant Pakistani authorities, has probed into the company involved. It did not admit the letters from the prominent Pakistani political figures submitted by this company as evidence,” he said, adding that CSRC will hand out an official punishment to the company involved and publicise the result of the punishment in accordance with the relevant law.
Geng said that the Chinese authorities have always requested overseas enterprises to operate in a law-abiding manner, investigate and punish the activities violating law and regulations. “China stands ready to work with Pakistan to promote the sound development of China-Pakistan economic cooperation,” the spokesman said.
Earlier, the Chinese government clarified that Yabaite Technology Co. Ltd, a Chinese firm alleged to be involved in a corruption scandal linked to the Multan metro bus project, was not working in Pakistan.
Lijian Zhao, Deputy Head of Mission at Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, responding to a tweet said that the Chinese firm in question does not operate in the country.
“Thx for advice. This Chinese company Yabeite was not working in Pakistan. It made up some fake letters to cheat government and was punished,” he tweeted.
In another tweet, the diplomat said CPEC projects are transparent and clean and there is zero tolerance for corruption.
A Pakistani news channel had last week alleged that CSRC had released a report claiming that Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif had received more than Rs10 million in kickbacks from the Multan Metro Bus project through Jiangsu Yabaite Technology Co. Ltd, a Chinese company listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
The Punjab chief minister had vehemently denied the accusation.
According to the channel’s report, Jiangsu is being probed by Chinese authorities after unusual transactions of money were detected in the company’s accounts. Pakistan, however, came into focus only after the Chinese company informed authorities in Beijing that the money involved in its unusual transactions was actually the profits it had earned from the Multan Metro Bus project through its Pakistani partner company, Capital Engineering and Construction Company (Pvt) Ltd, it claimed.
The channel said that on further investigation, the Chinese board ‘discovered’ that the company in Pakistan belonged to Shehbaz Sharif.
According to the report, CSRC approached the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and asked for its assistance pursuant to International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCOs) and Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MMoU) about Jiangsu Yabaite and Capital Engineering and Construction Company. The CSRC also enquired from the SECP whether these two companies participated in the construction of Multan Metro Bus Project, as claimed by Yabaite.
The SECP approached the State Bank of Pakistan as well as the Federal Board of Revenue to know if there is any bank account of Capital Engineering Company in the country, or any record of tax returns. The SECP also wrote to Pakistan Engineering Council to know if any such engineering company was registered with the council but no such company was found in the council’s record.
Yabaite, in light of the investigations, submitted to the CSRC two appreciation letters: one allegedly from Shehbaz Sharif, another from Senator Kulsoom Parveen, who hails from Balochistan, and one blank paper signed by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, which endorsed Senator Parveen’s letter in May 2017.
Shehbaz, as well as the two senators, have categorically denied writing any such letter.
Lashing out against the allegations in a press conference a day after the channel released its report, the Punjab chief minister said that “if anyone can prove a penny of corruption against me, they can hold me accountable”.
Moreover, Punjab government’s spokesman Malik Ahmad Khan announced that the provincial government was ready to join the investigation that CSRC was conducting regarding Yabaite’s affairs.
Khan also said that according to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), no team of CSRC ever visited Pakistan to investigate or record statements in connection with the Multan Metro Bus project.