NAB files another reference against Zardari, others

Updated April 10, 2019

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Putting more pressure on former president Asif Ali Zardari, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday filed a fourth reference in the fake accounts case in which the chief executive officer of the Omni Group and his spouse have also been named as accused. — DawnNewsTV/File
Putting more pressure on former president Asif Ali Zardari, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday filed a fourth reference in the fake accounts case in which the chief executive officer of the Omni Group and his spouse have also been named as accused. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: Putting more pressure on former president Asif Ali Zardari, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday filed a fourth reference in the fake accounts case in which the chief executive officer of the Omni Group and his spouse have also been named as accused.

In the reference, the bureau nominated 13 accused persons. They are: Ejaz Ahmed Khan, former secretary of the Special Initiative Department of Sindh; Hassan Ally Memon, project director/chairman of the procurement committee for the water supply scheme, Thatta; and members of the committee namely Ali Akbar Abro, Aijaz Ahmed Memon, Athar Nawaz Durrani, Abdul Haleem Memon, Mohammad Farrukh Khan, Mohammad Ramzan, Mohammad Siddiq Sulemani and Zeeshan Hasan Yousaf; private contractor Harish, Omni Group CEO Khawaja Abdul Ghani Majeed, and Menahel Majeed.

Read: Fake bank accounts case: NAB files first reference, recovers Rs600m worth of land

The reference accused ex-secretary Khan as well as the chairman and members of the procurement committee of misusing authority for the illegal award of different contracts to private contractors.

Thirteen accused persons named in fourth reference in fake accounts case

It alleged that some accused persons created fake accounts and purchased plots from ill-gotten money.

As per the NAB reference, Omni Group CEO Majeed, who is shown as “absconder” in the reference, purchased a plot in the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) in the name of his spouse Menahel Majeed. NAB has already confiscated the plot.

Mr Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur are also facing a reference that has been transferred from the banking court of Karachi to the accountability court of Islamabad. The case was investigated by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), but it was transferred to the bureau at the request of the NAB chairman.

The FIA had named Mr Zardari, Ms Talpur, Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed, his sons and over 10 others as suspects in an interim charge sheet filed in the banking court in August 2018 for alleged money laundering to the tune of over Rs4 billion, after 29 ‘fake’ bank accounts were found in three banks — Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank.

In another reference related to the illegal allotment of plots, NAB nominated nine accused persons. They are: Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) former administrator Mohammad Hussain Syed, former metropolitan commissioners of KMC Matanat Ali Khan and Shamsuddin Siddique, former director of the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) Najamuz Zaman, additional director Syed Jamil Ahmed, Abdul Rashid, Abdul Ghani Majeed and Younus Kidwai.

According to NAB, being public servants the suspects had allegedly misused their authority and illegally allotted amenity plots to non-entitled persons. The reference alleged that they were involved in illegal allotment of plots reserved for libraries and temple, causing a loss of billions of rupees to the national exchequer.

NAB has also filed the Pink Residency reference against a close aide to Mr Zardari, as well as other senior serving and retired officers of the Sindh Board of Revenue.

The accused named in the NAB reference are: former secretary of the Sindh Land Utilisation Department Aftab Memon, Omni Group’s Abdul Ghani Majeed and seven others.

The reference alleged that the accused had in connivance with each other illegally regularised two plots of 23 and seven acres, causing a loss of Rs4 billion to the national exchequer.

A joint investigation team in its report 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, government funds, kickbacks and proceeds of crime.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2019