Court summons Zardari in fake accounts case

Published June 15, 2021
This file photo shows  former president Asif Ali Zardari. — AFP/File
This file photo shows former president Asif Ali Zardari. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Monday summoned former president Asif Ali Zardari and his alleged frontman Mushtaq Ahmed in a case related to a suspicious transaction of Rs8.3 billion from Bahria Town’s account.

The court asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to distribute copies of the reference related to the suspicious transaction on June 29, before formal indictment of the suspects.

Another suspect in the case, Zain Malik, son-in-law of Bahria Town owner Malik Riaz, has already signed a plea bargain deal with NAB and deposited around Rs9bn in the national exchequer.

According to the NAB reference, Mr Zardari built his palatial house in Clifton with ill-gotten money as he could not provide proof of his claim that he had purchased the house through legal means. The reference said Mushtaq had allegedly provided Rs150 million for the construction. An illegal transaction of Rs8.3bn was carried out through a bank account of Mushtaq, who worked as a government employee in the President House from 2009 to 2013, and the money was paid to Bahria Town.

IHC moved against auction of Nawaz’s properties

In the Toshakhana reference, three petitioners who had objected to the auction of properties of former premier Nawaz Sharif have approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the dismissal of their petitions by the accountability court.

Judge Syed Asghar Ali of the accountability court had directed the Punjab revenue authorities nearly two months ago to auction unclaimed properties of the ex-premier, who has been absconding in the Toshakhana reference, within 60 days. The court order came on a NAB plea seeking a directive for the authorities concerned to sell the attached properties of the ex-PM under Section 88 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Three petitioners objected to the order of the district administration to auction three properties — a house at Lahore’s Upper Mall, 88.4 kanals of agricultural land in Ferozwattan in Sheikhupura district and 105-acre agricultural land in Lahore district. The applicants — Mian Barkat Ali, Aslam Aziz and Ashraf Malik — challenged the auction, requesting the court to set aside the order.

According to the reference, NAB alleged that former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had facilitated the allotment of vehicles to Mr Zardari and Mr Sharif by illegally relaxing the procedure for acceptance and disposal of gifts.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2021

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