NAB completes corruption probe against Agha Siraj Durrani

Updated April 30, 2019

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Agha Siraj Durrani coming out of the NAB court. — Online/File
Agha Siraj Durrani coming out of the NAB court. — Online/File

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday announced that it has completed an investigation against Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in a case pertaining to allegedly accumulating assets beyond known sources of income.

At a regional board meeting in Karachi, the accountability watchdog sought its chairman's approval to file a reference against Durrani.

The board was apprised that the suspect had accumulated assets beyond known sources of income worth Rs1.6 billion — "much beyond his declared assets", a press release issued by NAB said.

"The assets were held by the accused, his family and various benamidars who have been recommended for trial," the statement read.

It added that certain benamidars are personal servants of the accused and his family members.

The regional board also recommended to the NAB chairman to approve the filing of a supplementary reference against Senator Kamran Michael, against whom the bureau has collected further evidence regarding his alleged role in receiving a bribe worth Rs110 million through bank accounts of his friends and benamidars against the illegal sale of plots of the KPT Cooperative Housing Society.

NAB alleged that the suspect purchased various properties in his brother’s name with the ill-gotten money. "The supplementary reference will be filed against him and other accused persons after approval of the competent authority," read the statement.

Having been detained from a hotel in Islamabad on Feb 20, Durrani was being investigated for allegedly making 352 illegal appointments, the embezzlement of public funds in the construction of the MPA Hostel and the new Sindh Assembly building, as well as the appointment of project directors for these projects.

Earlier, NAB prosecutor Zahid Hussain Baladi had submitted the details of assets allegedly owned by Durrani, saying they were "disproportionate to his known sources of income”.

According to the list prepared by NAB, Durrani allegedly owns 17 movable and immovable benamidar properties, including a bombproof bungalow in his native town of Garhi Yasin in Sindh.

Alleged corruption in PIA

The bureau also sought the NAB headquarters' authorisation to launch an inquiry into a case of alleged corruption in the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). According to details cited by the press release, an ATR 42-500 airplane was "illegally" grounded by PIA's senior management in April 2014 which resulted in a loss to the national flag-carrier to the tune of millions of rupees.

"The plane would have been otherwise functional and airworthy with the help of routine maintenance. But the plane was grounded in violation of aviation regulations, with the intention of stealing its parts and rendering its status as scrap," the statement said.

The watchdog also sought approval for a formal inquiry into another matter involving the airlines.

"PIA awarded illegal agreement to a private logistics company M/s Leisure Cargo for utilisation of its cargo space for three years from 2016 to 2019 at low and uncompetitive rates for extending illegal favour to the company," NAB said in its statement.