UAE business tycoon Lootah turns approver against Zardari

Published August 20, 2019
The accountability court of Islamabad has recalled arrest warrants for the chairman of a private bank in Pakistan, Nasser Abdulla Lootah, after the United Arab Emirates national turned approver against former president Asif Ali Zardari.  — AFP/File
The accountability court of Islamabad has recalled arrest warrants for the chairman of a private bank in Pakistan, Nasser Abdulla Lootah, after the United Arab Emirates national turned approver against former president Asif Ali Zardari. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court of Islamabad has recalled arrest warrants for the chairman of a private bank in Pakistan, Nasser Abdulla Lootah, after the United Arab Emirates national turned approver against former president Asif Ali Zardari.

The top businessman was one of the accused persons in the fake accounts case along with Faryal Talpur, Omni Group chairman Abdul Ghani Majeed and others.

The court summoned him several times in the case against Mr Zardari before issuing his arrest warrants because of his absconding. Mr Lootah earlier this month recorded a statement before the National Accoun­tability Bureau and agreed to become an approver in the fake accounts case.

The prosecution told the accountability court that the NAB chairman had accep­ted Mr Lootah’s application seeking pardon for becoming approver in the case.

As the court gave the nod to the process, NAB removed his name from the list of accused persons.

Deputy prosecutor general Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi on Monday informed the court that NAB intended to file a supplementary reference against Mr Zardari on the basis of new evidence.

Opposing the move, defence counsel Sardar Latif Khan Khosa said NAB could not file a supplementary reference since the case had been transferred from the banking court of Karachi.

The court distributed copies of the Park Lane reference among the accused persons and adjourned the hearing till Sept 5.

Meanwhile, the defence counsel filed an application seeking ‘A’ Class facilities for Mr Zardari and Ms Talpur in Adiala jail.

Mr Khosa said his client had been given ‘A’ Class facilities in jail even before he became the president of Pakistan. He said the ex-president had turned old and had been suffering from multiple diseases, yet the jail authorities were not providing him proper care.

Judge Mohammad Bashir of the accountability court adjourned the matter till Tuesday (today) and exempted Mr Zardari and Ms Talpur from personal appearance.

Miftah’s remand extended

The same court extended physical remand of former finance minister Miftah Ismail and ex-managing director of the Pakistan State Oil Sheikh Imranul Haq for 11 days.

The ex-minister earlier informed the court that NAB was not conducting proper investigation despite keeping him in custody. He said he had been kept in a small room where NAB investigators come for not more than five minutes a day. He said he was allowed 30-minute walk a day and kept in the cell for over 23 hours.

The bureau had arrested the ex-minister in the LNG import case after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) dismissed his pre-arrest bail petition.

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2019

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