ISLAMABAD: An accountability court will take up on April 19 the first reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the fake bank accounts case also involving former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur.
After an initial hearing on Thursday, accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir summoned nine accused in the case, including senior serving and retired officials of the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) and the Omni Group.
Those nominated by NAB in the reference include former KMC administrator Mohammad Hussain Syed, former metropolitan commissioners Matanat Ali Khan and Shamsuddin Sidduque, former Karachi Development Authority director Najamuz Zaman, additional director Syed Jamil Ahmed, Abdul Rashid, Abdul Ghani and Younus Kidwai.
In the subsequent proceedings, the court will indict the suspects and start trial
During the proceedings on April 19, the accountability court will distribute copies of the reference among the accused. In the subsequent proceedings, the court will indict the suspects and start formal trial against them.
NAB in its reference alleged that the accused being public servants had misused their authority and illegally allotted amenities plots to non-entitled persons. The accused persons were also involved in illegal allotment of the plots reserved for libraries and temple, causing billions of rupees of losses to the national exchequer, it alleged. According to the prosecution, payments for the illegal allotments were made from the fake accounts.
The accountability court has already summoned PPP leader Asif Zardari, Faryal Talpur, former chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange Hussain Lawai, Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed and others to appear before it on April 8 in the money laundering and fake accounts case.
While taking suo motu notice, former Supreme Court chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar had constituted a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the fake accounts case. In its report, the JIT contended that prima facie evidence brought to the record during investigations indicated that the Zardari and Omni groups, which started with a paid-up capital of Rs600 in 1981 and Rs6,000 in 2001, respectively, had amassed assets through misappropriation of loans and government funds, kickbacks and proceeds of crime.
The JIT mentioned in its report a transfer of Rs357 million from 12 fake accounts to the accounts of M/s Parthenon. It transpired that M/s Parthenon was a front company of M/s Park Lane as it had no independent business of its own when it entered into a joint venture with Park Lane.
Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2019