ISLAMABAD: After the famous Panama Papers Leaks, new leaks called ‘Dubai Leaks’ are likely to be released by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to expose over Rs1 trillion properties of Pakistanis in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

NAB, in its executive board’s meeting (EBM) chaired by its chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal, decided to expose properties in Dubai owned by Pakistanis on a compliant received by the anti-graft watchdog.

According to the complainant, over 7,000 Pakistanis own properties worth over Rs1tr in the UAE. They include former high-ranking military officials, politicians, bureaucrats, owners of media houses and journalists.

Inquiry also ordered against ex-ministers Dar and Anusha over award of Next Generation Mobile Services in Pakistan

It has been reported in the media that the list called ‘Dubai Leaks’ was provided to Pakistan by the UAE authorities in 2015, but the then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government showed no interest in bringing back national wealth or bringing the owners of offshore properties to the tax net.

“The EBM authorised an inquiry against certain Pakistanis living at home or overseas and investors over illegal transactions and money laundering and making assets of Rs1.1 trillion in Dubai,” it was officially announced by NAB after the meeting.

A source in NAB told Dawn that the bureau would involve the Foreign Office to get more and more information about Pakistanis’ properties in Dubai.

He said NAB could also seek help of the UAE authorities under Mutual Legal Assistance to obtain information about Pakistanis’ properties in the Gulf state.

However, it has been learnt that earlier Islamabad has asked the government of Dubai a number of times to provide information regarding Pakistanis’ investment in real estate business in the Gulf state but it was reluctant to provide such information. Apparently the Dubai government does not want to shatter confidence of investors.

Meanwhile, the EBM authorised an inquiry against Fawad Hassan Fawad, former principal secretary to prime minister, over allege abuse of authority, corruption and causing heavy losses to national exchequer.

In a separate decision, NAB approved another inquiry against former finance minister Ishaq Dar, former minister for information technology Anusha Rahman, former chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Dr Ismail Shah and others over their alleged involvement in award of contract of the Next Generation Mobile Services (NGMS) in Pakistan.

The EBM also authorised an inquiry against government officials believed to be involved in payment of circular debt amounting to Rs480 billion in violation of rules in 2013.

The NAB board authorised another inquiry against the management of Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project for alleged misuse of authority and corruption.

Yet another inquiry was ordered against Muzaffar Ali Ranjha, former director general of the Anti-Corruption Establishment, Punjab, and others for denying cooperation to NAB in performing official duties.

Similarly the bureau decided to probe into corruption allegedly committed by certain officers and officials of the Northern Power Plant, Gujranwala, and others.

The meeting authorised an inquiry against officers/officials of the Civil

Aviation Authority (CAA) for buying aircraft spares and equipments from favourite companies through abuse of authority and causing heavy loss to the national kitty.

An inquiry was ordered against the officers of the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF), land suppliers, builders and others for corruption in development work of the OPF Housing Society in the capital.

BAHRIA TOWN CASES: The NAB ordered investigations against Bahria Town Limited and others for allegedly occupying the land belonging to people for its project called New Murree Project.

NAB also approved an inquiry over complaints of corruption against Saqib Ahmed Soomro, a senior officer in Sindh government.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2018