NAB moves court for auction of Dar’s properties

Published September 28, 2018
PML-N leader Ishaq Dar is seen in this file photo.— AP/File
PML-N leader Ishaq Dar is seen in this file photo.— AP/File

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has moved the accountability court for the auction of movable and immovable properties owned by Ishaq Dar since the former finance minister is absconding in the reference related to his ‘assets beyond means’.

NAB special prosecutor Imran Shafique filed an application before accountability court Judge Mohammad Bashir, seeking the appointment of a receiver and the issuance of orders for the sale of Mr Dar’s movable and immovable properties since the ex-minister has fled abroad.

Following the filing of the reference against Mr Dar in the accountability court last September, NAB seized all of Mr Dar’s movable and immovable assets. These included a house in Gulberg III, Lahore; three plots in the 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.

Anti-graft body says assets owned by ex-minister saw a 91-time increase within a short span of time

NAB alleges that Mr Dar acquired in his name and/or in the names of his dependants assets worth Rs831.7 million, which is disproportionate to the known sources of his income.

The prosecutor raised before the court the matter under Section 88 (attachment of property of person absconding), sub-sections 2 & 3 of the Criminal Procedures Code. He requested the court that a receiver be appointed who would receive and deposit in the government’s treasury the revenue collected from the properties.

NAB’s reference accuses Mr Dar of amassing assets beyond his known sources of income. In the supplementary reference, NAB named president of the National Bank of Pakistan Saeed Ahmed, along with two other accused persons — Naeem Mahmood and one of Mr Dar’s employees since 1991, Syed Mansoor Raza Rizvi — regarding their alleged involvement in “aiding and abetting” the former finance minister for a 91-time increase in his assets within a short span of time.

In the application, Mr Shafique stated that the former finance minister was summoned to face trial but he fled abroad without the court’s permission. He added that Mr Dar had been summoned again while warrants of arrest were also issued to ensure attendance, but to no avail. When there were no prospects of his arrest in the case, Mr Shafique said, the court issued a proclamation under Section 87 (proclamation for person absconding) of the CrPC ordering him to appear before the court, with more than 30 days being given, but he did not appear. Later, he said, the court declared him a proclaimed offender.

In the application, Mr Shafique stated that more than six months had passed but the accused had consciously and intentionally disappeared. “The accused pretended his ailment but he is taking active part to perform his duty pursuits,” he stated. “Dar has failed to appear and justify his inability based on valid grounds.”

The application stated that some of the properties had already been attached by the court on Nov 2, 2017; however, some of the properties were beyond the jurisdiction of the court and therefore the orders of attachment, appointment of receiver and collection of rent/revenue from the properties ought to be ordered after getting a sanction order from the respective sessions judge of the district concerned.

The NAB prosecutor requested the court that a proper order be issued through which a district officer (revenue) may be ordered to appoint a receiver. He added that the revenue thus collected should be deposited in the government treasury, or the revenue officer should be ordered to make appropriate arrangements for the sale of the properties.

Nawaz lawyer raises objections

The counsel for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif during the trial proceedings of the Al-Azizia reference raised objections over the testimony of the last prosecution witness, Mehboob Alam, the investigation officer (IO) in the case.

The defence counsel maintained that the IO was neither the scribe nor the executor of the documents he submitted as evidence against Mr Sharif. Moreover, the evidence produced in the Al-Azizia reference was contradictory to the law of evidence, he said, terming the documents inadmissible evidence.

Mr Alam had testified before the accountability court that Mr Sharif is the actual beneficial owner of the asset Al-Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment. According to him, remittance from these companies to the extent of €1.2 million and US$10.2 million were converted and credited to PKR accounts of the ex-premier and came to Rs1.187bn apart from the balance available in his bank accounts.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2018

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