Verdict reserved on acquittal pleas of Khwaja brothers

Updated October 15, 2019

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Counsel of PML-N leaders argues that the case does not fall within the domain of NAO. — DawnNewsTV/File
Counsel of PML-N leaders argues that the case does not fall within the domain of NAO. — DawnNewsTV/File

LAHORE: An accountability court on Monday reserved its verdict on acquittal applications of former railways minister Khwaja Saad Rafiq and his brother former provincial minister Khwaja Salman Rafiq in Paragon City scam.

Earlier, advocates Ashtar Ausaf Ali and Amjad Pervaiz concluded their arguments on behalf of the petitioners against the jurisdiction of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to make reference against them.

The counsel argued that disputes regarding a private business did not fall within the domain of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999. They said there was no allegation of corruption or misusing national exchequer against the petitioners being public office holder.

They said the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) was the competent forum to look into such matters under Companies Act 2017.

They asked the court to set aside the indictment of the petitioners and acquit them of the charges.

NAB prosecutor Hafiz Asadullah Awan opposed the acquittal applications and argued that there were rulings by the Supreme Court that the trial court could not entertain such appeals after the indictment. He said the NAB powers were protected under section 18 C&D of the NAO 1999.

Presiding Judge Jawadul Hassan reserved the verdict to be announced on Wednesday (tomorrow). The judge directed the jail officials to produce the Khwaja brothers on the next hearing at 12pm.

The NAB in the reference accused the Khwaja brothers of wrongfully gaining Rs18.2 million approximately from M/s Paragon City (pvt) Limited in their bank accounts.

It said the Khwaja brothers through their “benamidars” and with the abettment of former MPA Qaiser Amin Butt and Nadeem Zia established a housing project in the name of Air Avenue. It said the suspects along with other accomplices cheated public at large and obtained illegal financial benefits from the funds of the illegal society.

MARYAM: Hearing on bail petition of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz in Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) was not held on Monday due to unavailability of senior judge of a two-judge bench of the Lahore High Court.

The bench comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem had taken up the petition on Oct 1 and issued a notice to the NAB for Oct 14. However, the cause list of the bench was cancelled as Justice Najafi was on leave on Monday.

The NAB accused Ms Nawaz of committing money laundering through investment of variable heavy amounts being main shareholder of CSM. It said she was involved in money laundering with the help of some foreigners during the period of 1992-93 when her father, Nawaz Sharif, was prime minister.

Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2019