Money from £190 million settlement to be used for social welfare, clarifies PM's aide

Updated 06 Dec 2019

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Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar made the comments after critics on social media questioned whether the money from the settlement was going to be used to pay Riaz's fine, which was imposed on him by the Supreme Court. — APP/File
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar made the comments after critics on social media questioned whether the money from the settlement was going to be used to pay Riaz's fine, which was imposed on him by the Supreme Court. — APP/File

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar clarified on Friday that £190 million, from a settlement between Malik Riaz's family and the UK government, will be used by the federal government for social welfare.

"Settlement agreement also entails selling 1 Hyde Park and transferring its proceeds to State of Pakistan. Money is transferred into Supreme Court of Pakistan's National Bank of Pakistan account. Federal Govt has made an application to SCP for release of this money to the federal government for spending it on social welfare and for the poor," he said.

On Tuesday, the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) agreed to a civil settlement with the family of property tycoon Malik Riaz.

The NCA accepted a settlement offer of £190 million, which includes a UK property – 1 Hyde Park Place, London, W2 2LH – valued at approximately £50 million and all of the funds in nine frozen accounts.

In an official statement, the agency stated that the funds would be handed over to Pakistan.

Akbar's clarification on Friday comes after questions were raised whether the money from the settlement was going to be used to pay Riaz's fine, which was imposed on him by the Supreme Court in March. The top court had accepted Bahria Town Karachi's Rs460 billion offer for the lands it occupies in Malir district of Karachi and restrained the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from filing references against it.

Akbar, via Twitter, reiterated that the government of Pakistan has signed a deed of confidentiality and cannot comment on the intricacies of the case, saying: "GOP has signed a confidentiality agreement to not divulge beyond this on the matter."

However, he added that the government is currently involved in similar matters with other governments and expecting recovery worth millions of dollars.

'Govt encourages settlements, does not wish to jail citizens'

Akbar at a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday had stated that the government encourages agreements in civil cases and does not wish to keep people in jail.

Speaking alongside federal minister Murad Saeed, Akbar maintained that this was the first time in Pakistan's history that money had been repatriated from another country through the legal process.

"It is important to note that the settlement was reached in a civil case not a criminal case," he clarified.

“The money has been transferred to the Supreme Court and we have already filed a request before the apex court that the money should be given to us [state of Pakistan],” Akbar said at the joint press conference and later confirmed it during a private TV talk show.

Separately, he told Dawn that out of 190m pounds, 140m pounds had been transferred while 50m pounds would be received later when a property of 1 Hyde Park [owned by Malik Riaz] would be sold.