Recovery of Rs2.1bn through plea bargain a 'breakthrough' in fake accounts case: PM's aide

31 Jul 2019

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Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar. — DawnNewsTV/File
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar. — DawnNewsTV/File

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar on Wednesday termed as a "breakthrough" the recovery of Rs2.12 billion from a suspect in the fake bank accounts case as part of a plea bargain with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

"First major recovery of 2.1 Billion a breakthrough in #FakeAccountsCase [as] one accused enters plea bargain [and] admits his guilt [and] role in sham deals in Sindh in one of [the] Omni group matters," Akbar tweeted.

More such recoveries would follow, the premier's aide said, praising the fake accounts case joint investigation team and NAB over the development.

His comment comes a day after an accountability court approved a plea bargain worth Rs2.12bn between suspects linked to the Sindh Nooriabad Power project company and NAB.

Editorial: Using plea bargains as standard operating procedure should be discouraged

The investigation officer while submitting a report to Judge Mohammad Bashir had said that the suspects, Syed Asif Mahmood and Syed Arif Ali, were ready to deposit Rs2.12bn into the national exchequer under a plea bargain deal arrangement with NAB authorities under Section 25(b) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.

Judge Bashir asked the suspects if they were entering the plea bargain deal under coercion or free will to which they replied they were doing so of their own will.

Mahmood, the CEO of M/S Technomen Kinetic Pvt Ltd and Ali, director Nooriabad Power Company, were arrested by NAB on May 21 in connection with alleged misappropriation and money laundering in the Nooriabad power project.

NAB had stated then that the suspects were taken into custody for ext­ending illegal favours to M/S Technomen Kinetic Pvt Ltd and others in projects of Sindh Nooriabad Power Com­pany and Sindh Transmission and Dispatch Com­pany (STDC), causing a $16 million loss to the national exchequer.

According to the prosecution, the NAB chairman had approved the application of the suspects seeking release under the plea bargain deal.

The fake bank accounts case involves alleged money laundering worth billions of rupees through 29 accounts, which were found opened in three banks — Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Ltd.

The Federal Investigation Agency had named PPP leaders Asif Ali Zardari, his sibling Faryal Talpur, Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed, his sons and over 10 others as suspects in an interim charge sheet filed in a banking court in August last year.

The case was transferred from the banking court in Karachi to the accountability court of Rawalpindi for trial in March this year.