ISLAMABAD: Former president Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday challenged the confiscation of his three luxury vehicles that he says he bought from Toshakhana.
The accountability court sought a reply from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) by Sept 24 to the application moved by the former president.
Established in 1974, Toshakhana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and stores precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats and officials by heads of other governments, states and foreign dignitaries as a goodwill gesture.
Under the rules, it is mandatory that gifts of a certain value are deposited in Toshakhana. However, an official is also allowed to keep these gifts provided he pays a certain percentage of the price assessed by the Toshakhana evaluation committee.
Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairperson Zardari challenged the NAB order for confiscation of the three gifted vehicles he bought on depreciated price. He also objected to the accountability court’s endorsement of confiscation of the vehicles.
According to the application, the accountability court had on Aug 17 accepted the NAB request and issued an order to seize the vehicles. Subsequently, NAB had on Aug 27 issued a directive for surrendering the vehicles.
Mr Zardari contended that the decision to confiscate the vehicles was illegal and requested the court to issue a stay order till a decision on his application.
Meanwhile, the accountability court reserved its decision on Mr Zardari’s applications seeking to quash NAB’s three supplementary references relating to the fake bank accounts case. The supplementary references pertain to Park Lane, mega money laundering and Thatta water supply cases.
Farooq H. Naek, the counsel for Mr Zardari, argued that there was no provision in the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) to file a supplementary reference.
NAB deputy prosecutor general Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi, on the other hand, said NAO never barred NAB from filing a supplementary reference.
Accountability court judge Azam Khan, after hearing the arguments of Mr Zardari’s counsel and the prosecution, reserved the decision.
Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2020