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KARACHI: More than two months after his arrest, the National Accountability Bureau on Tuesday announced to have completed its investigation against Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani concluding that he had accumulated assets beyond known sources of his income and recommended to the chief of the anti-graft body to give approval for filing a reference against him.

NAB Karachi also decided to file a reference against former federal minister Kamran Michael who it said had received Rs110 million bribes through bank accounts of his friends and benamidars for illegal sale of plots of the KPT Cooperative Housing Society while being in office.

The decision to file the references against the Sindh Assembly speaker and former federal minister was made at NAB’s regional board meeting, which sent its recommendations to its headquarters in Islamabad.

The anti-graft watchdog concludes probe against the Sindh Assembly speaker

“The board recommended to NAB chairman for approval of reference against Agha Siraj Durrani after completion of the investigation,” said a NAB statement. “The board was apprised that the accused had accumulated assets beyond known sources of income worth Rs1.6 billion much beyond his declared assets. The assets were held by the accused, his family and various benamidars who have been recommended for trial. There are certain benamidars who are personal servants of the accused and his family.”

NAB had arrested Mr Durrani in February in Islamabad for his alleged involvement in corruption that attracted a serious reaction from the Pakistan Peoples Party which called it “political victimisation” and lashed out at the anti-corruption watchdog for not arresting leaders of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) allegedly involved in white-collar crimes.

In the statement, NAB also shared its findings about the probe against former federal minister Michael.

“The regional board also made recommendation to NAB chairman for approval of a supplementary reference against Senator Kamran Michael against whom further evidence was collected regarding his role in receiving a bribe of amount Rs110 million through bank accounts of his friends and benamidars for illegal sale of plots of KPT Cooperative Housing Society,” it said, adding: “He purchased various properties in his brother’s name with the bribe money. The supplementary reference will be filed against him and other accused persons after approval of the competent authority.”

A case was also recommended to the NAB headquarters for authorisation of an inquiry in a corruption matter of the Pakistan International Airlines.

An ATR 42-500 was illegally grounded by the senior management in April 2014 which accrued losses to the PIA to the tune of millions of rupees, said the statement.

“The plane would have been otherwise functional and airworthy with 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,” it added.

Similarly, it said, in another corruption case of the PIA, a complaint was recommended for approval of a formal inquiry in which the 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 it was in violation of the approval of the board and the agreement was tampered which led to losses of millions of dollars to the PIA.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2019