LAHORE: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman retired justice Javed Iqbal has directed the Lahore bureau to conclude important inquiries against federal minister Khusro Bakhtiar, his brother provincial minister Hashim Jawan Bakht, PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz and MNA Javed Latif and others at the earliest.
NAB Lahore Director General Shahzad Saleem along with the combined investigation teams (CITs) briefed the chairman on the stage of investigation in these cases at the provincial headquarters here on Wednesday.
The chairman was informed that the investigation into the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) in which former premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz are the major shareholders was at the advanced stage and a reference would be filed against them and others soon.
According to NAB, Ms Nawaz has yet to reply to a query regarding provision of original share purchase agreements/ transfer deed pertaining to 11.5 million ordinary shares of the CSM transferred in her name in 2008 by foreign nationals -- Seed Saif Bin Jabar Al-Suwaidi (UAE national), Sheikh Zakauddin (UK national) and Hani Ahmad Jamjoom (Saudi national). The NAB said she also could not provide the record related to the source of funding along with trail of payment made to the foreign nationals for the purchase of 11.5 million shares.
The investigation against federal minister for industries and production Khusro Bakhtiar and Punjab finance minister Hashim Jawan Bakht for possessing assets worth billions of rupees beyond their known sources of income was underway but filing a reference against them or not was yet to decided.
During his tenure as chairman of the Rahim Yar Khan district council and as federal minister, Mr Bakhtiar’s assets significantly multiplied. Earlier, the NAB had informed the Lahore High Court on a petition that inquiries against the Khusros into allegations of amassing assets beyond known sources of income were underway and would be completed soon.
The NAB chairman was also briefed on the progress in investigation into the revision of the LDA master plan to benefit the Sharif family in the land allotment in Raiwind by ex-DCO Lahore Noorul Amin Mengal and former LDA director general Ahad Khan Cheema.
In the Lasani Chicks and Oil Companies case, the chairman was told that claims amounting Rs2.5bn had been filed so far and in the Eden Housing inquiry its owner had been directed to pay Rs16bn if he wanted to opt for plea bargain.
Investigation against MNA Javed Latif, who has recently been released on bail in a treason case, is also on charges of income beyond means.
The chairman was also told about progress in probe against DIG Akbar Nasir in the misuse of authority and assets beyond means and additional IG Malik Ali Amir, also in income beyond means case.
Justice Iqbal directed the investigators to conclude the probe in these cases at the earliest. “References should be prepared on concrete evidence supported with witnesses’ statements as per law,” the chairman said and stressed for enhanced mutual coordination and understanding between investigation officers and prosecutors to prepare cases in line with the ‘documentary evidence and scientific grounds’.
Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2021