NAB files fresh reference against Nawaz, Zardari and Gilani in fake accounts case

Published March 2, 2020
The reference has been filed at an accountability court in Islamabad. — Reuters/File
The reference has been filed at an accountability court in Islamabad. — Reuters/File

The National Accountability Bureau on Monday filed a new reference against former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Yousuf Raza Gilani and former president Asif Ali Zardari in the fake accounts case.

The reference has been filed at an accountability court in Islamabad.

The reference, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, also named Omni Group CEO Khawaja Anwar Majid and his son Khawaja Abdul Ghani Majid.

According to the reference, Gilani, in order to extend illegal benefit to accused [Zardari and Nawaz], allowed the retention of vehicles gifted to them by different foreign states and dignitaries by relaxing procedures relating to submission of gifts in the Toshakhana.

The accused “through dishonest and illegal means for their personal benefit and interest” retained the vehicles in question “against a nominal payment of 15 per cent of the total value”, the reference stated.

It added that Zardari made the payments for the vehicles through the Omni Group CEO and his son “for which he has no plausible justification.”

“It was established during investigation that these amounts are in the context of illegitimate laundered proceeds for the benefit of the accused,” the reference reads.

The reference maintained that Gilani, in connivance with Zardari and Nawaz, “dishonestly and illegally relaxed the procedure for the acceptance and disposal of gifts […] which stipulate that vehicles shall not be allowed to be purchased by the recipients”.

“The accused [Gilani] floated and suppressed the law and the procedure to grant undue concession, and benefits resulting in wrongful loss to the national exchequer,” the statement added.

According to the reference, during his tenure as president of Pakistan, Zardari accepted and received vehicles as gifts from the United Arab Emirates in 2005 and from Libya in 2008.

“He neither reported the gifted vehicles nor deposited the same. The accused preferred his own personal interests and obtained undue concession and benefits,” it added.

Meanwhile, the reference maintained that Nawaz, who did not hold any public office in 2008, “knowingly and with dishonest intention obtained illegal favour in connivance with [Gilani] by obtaining the relaxation of the said procedure for acceptance and disposal of gifts”.

The fake accounts case pertains to a massive money laundering scam that was being probed by the Federal Investigation Agency.

The suspects include Zardari, his sister MNA Faryal Talpur, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairman Hussain Lawai, Omni Group CEO Anwar Majeed and his sons and several other high profile persons. The case was later taken over by NAB on the Supreme Court's orders.

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