Saeed Ahmed
Saeed Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court has summoned the president of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) in a supplementary reference against defunct finance minister Ishaq Dar filed by the National Accountability Bureau on Monday.

National Bank president Saeed Ahmed has been named as one of the three accused in addition to the minister in the supplementary reference after NAB detected transactions of millions of dollars to other countries through the bank accounts that he operated.

Besides, the supplementary reference named two Hajveri Modaraba directors — Naeem Mehmood and Syed Mansoor Raza Rizvi — as accused.

NAB also cited 24 prosecution witnesses in the supplementary reference, which has been filed at a time when the accountability court has already completed testimony of 29 of the 30 witnesses against the defunct minister in the Rs831.6 million assets reference.

NAB detects transactions of millions of dollars to other countries

Judge Mohammad Bashir of the Accountability Court accepted the supplementary reference and summoned the NBP president and other accused on Feb 28, the same day when the court would record the testimony of an assistant director of NAB — the last of the 30 prosecution witnesses — in the main reference against Mr Dar for possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.

The accountability court has already declared Mr Dar a proclaimed offender and attached his bank accounts and other properties after he failed to appear before the court despite repeated notices.

On Monday, NAB informed the accountability court that during the course of investigation it had discovered that the NBP president was operating seven bank accounts through which huge transactions had been made to other countries.

As per NAB’s supplementary reference, the investigating team detected transactions of $6.4 million and Rs482m through the accounts of NBP president but he failed to satisfy the investigators about these transactions.

As the supplementary reference has been filed at a time when the trial court had already summoned the last witness against the defunct finance minister in the assets case, it is believed that the move may delay the conclusion of trial proceedings for about a couple of weeks, sources said.

In its July 28, 2017 order, the Supreme Court had directed a joint investigation team (JIT) to prepare a reference against the defunct finance minister and file it before the accountability court. Justice Ijazul Ahsan being the supervisor judge is monitoring the progress of the trial proceeding.

According to JIT’s report in 1982-83, Mr Dar owned assets worth Rs9.1 million. His assets increased manifolds within a few years. The defunct minister declared Rs831.6 million assets in 2008. The JIT concluded that Mr Dar possessed assets which were disproportionate and beyond his known sources of income.

As the defunct minister did not appear before the court despite repeated notices, the accountability court declared him a proclaimed offender and attached his bank accounts and other properties.

Subsequently, NAB seized all of Mr Dar’s moveable and immoveable assets including a house in Gulberg III, Lahore; three plots in Al-Falah Housing Society, Lahore; six acres of land in Islamabad, a two-kanal plot in the Parliamentarians’ Enclave, Islamabad; a plot in the Senate Cooperative Housing Society, Islamabad; another plot measuring two kanals and nine marlas in Islamabad and six vehicles.

In the Rs831.6 million assets case against Mr Dar, a total of 29 prosecution witnesses including Wajid Zia, head of the JIT comprising officials of Inter Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, State Bank of Pakistan and NAB, have so far recorded their statements before the accountability court, while an assistant director of NAB will record his evidence on Feb 28.

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2018

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