ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has been accused of extorting money from a ‘corrupt’ patwari.
An application, patwari Mohammad Ashraf is going to file with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) disclosed the modus operandi the NAB officials allegedly used to extract money from the accused facing charges of financial corruption.
These allegations of extortion against NAB officials have been leveled at a time when the bureau is being criticised by both the ruling and opposition parties for alleged highhandedness. This might be the reason the patwari, who preferred to bribe the NAB officials in the past, has decided to drag the officials to the court.
Ashraf, who has been working in the revenue department of Islamabad since 1984, alleged that NAB officials through their agents used to file applications against government officials in order to force them to pay bribe.
Claims NAB officials used their agents to file complaints against him to extort favours
Mr Ashraf in his application stated that in 2008 NAB summoned him on the basis of a complaint filed by Mohammad Shafi, a resident of Sargodha. He, however, was cleared by NAB in the subsequent year as the bureau found him innocent and absolved him of the charges of “making assets beyond known sources of income.”
He alleged that he paid a huge amount to the NAB officials to get his name cleared but after six years the bureau again summoned him on the basis of another complaint filed by a servant of Mr Shafi.
According to documents available with Dawn, NAB’s assistant director, Abdul Majid, probed the case against Ashraf. The complainant alleged that Ashraf owned a double-storey shop, a tractor showroom, bungalows besides running a jewellery business in Islamabad and Sargodha.
Majid, however, cleared the patwari from the charges and recommended to the director general NAB Rawalpindi that the “inquiry (against Ashraf) may be closed.”
Retired Major Tehsinul Haq Siddiqui, the additional director NAB, on Oct 6, 2009, informed Ashraf that “based on the final inquiry report the director general NAB Rawalpindi had approved the closure of the case.”
Ashraf added that getting a clean chit from NAB was not an easy job as he paid heavy bribe to the inquiry officials.
Assistant director NAB Zahir Shah was the first officer who initiated an inquiry on the complaint of Shafi. According to the application of the patwari, he paid Rs200,000 cash and transferred a kanal plot located in Islamabad to a relative of Shah.
After ‘smooth’ transaction of cash and plot in the name of Shah, the inquiry was transferred to assistant director Abdul Majid. Ashraf paid him Rs2 million, a 2003 model Corolla car (DN-4690) besides transferring a one kanal and 11 marla plot to Majid’s friend.
This ‘deal’ remained hidden until Majid allegedly asked Azmatullah, a servant of Shafi, to file another complaint against Ashraf.
The patwari stated that Majid restarted the inquiry for the sake of financial gains as his previous experiment was quite successful. This time, the application alleged, Majid involved deputy directors Tariq Butt, Samina Rehman and Adnan Butt for blackmailing him.
Ashraf wrote a letter to the director general NAB Rawalpindi against the ‘highhandedness’ of the officials but to no avail, the complaint added.
When contacted, NAB spokesman Nawazish Ali Asim said the allegations against their officials would be probed and the culprits would be punished accordingly.
Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2016