ISLAMABAD: Petitioner in the foreign funding case Akbar S. Babar has claimed that a fact-finding report has revealed that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) received illegal funding to the tune of Rs2.20 billion during the period between 2009 and 2013.
Unveiling the report at a media briefing here on Tuesday, Mr Babar, a founding member of the PTI, said it was just a tip of the iceberg as complete details of the accounts opened in the name of four PTI employees as well as the party’s accounts in and outside the country had not been shared. He said the prohibited funding received by the party would be manifold high if a thorough probe was carried out.
Earlier in the day, Mr Babar along with his legal team handed over the report to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The report is based on perusal of the PTI records submitted by the party to the ECP in compliance with its order issued on April 14. The perusal of the PTI records was conducted by financial experts Arsalan Vardag and Muhammad Sohaib.
Ruling party rejects ‘fact-finding’ report as pack of lies
The report questions the authenticity of the PTI records by stating that all the documents shared for perusal were unauthenticated, unsigned and unstamped photocopies of documents. The report notes that the documents are incomplete and, therefore, do not present a complete picture of PTI’s finances.
The report notes that the April 25, 2018 order of the ECP’s scrutiny committee sought PTI’s bank statements of accounts in Pakistan and abroad, but these were not shared. Not a single bank statement of registered and acknowledged international companies/entities of the PTI have been provided by the party.
The report says the source and details of the funds received in four PTI employees’ personal bank accounts, authorised by the PTI’s finance board in July 2011, were not shared. PTI chairman Imran Khan and secretary general Dr Arif Alvi approved receipt of funding in PTI employees’ accounts as suggested by the approval document.
The report provides details and references of the funds received from prohibited or unknown sources from within the country and abroad. For example, it cites “cash deposits without source and details with the sole description collection at chairman office” — FY2009 to 2012 amounting to Rs25.6 million. It cites local and foreign currency funding without source and details from FY2009 to 2012 amounting to Rs51.2m. The report cites total deposits in disclosed bank statements from 2009 to 2013 exceed the total donations by Rs952.7m. It cites foreign currency funding without source and details for 2013 amounting to $774,315 and foreign currency transfers converted into Pakistani rupees without source and details amounting to Rs14.3m. It cites local and foreign currency funding without source and details from 2009 to 2012 amounting to Rs51.2m and $205,938, respectively. It cites local currency funding without source and details for 2013 amounting to Rs414.9m.
The report also cites prohibited funding from two PTI-registered companies (PTI NA LLC 5975 & 6160) amounting to $1,998, 700 and 579,000, respectively. It includes prohibited funding from 221 business entities/companies/foreigners.
The report states that the PTI has neither declared all of its bank accounts nor provided statements of all of its accounts.
The scrutiny committee has prepared a list of 28 PTI bank accounts from the information provided by the banks directly to the ECP. Out of the 28 accounts listed by the scrutiny committee, the PTI refused to acknowledge five bank accounts on various pretexts and did not share statements of two bank accounts.
The PTI had disclosed bank account in KASB Bank Limited, Gulberg Branch, Lahore, in its audited accounts of 2013; however, its bank statement was not provided for perusal. A sum of Rs598.89m was transferred to this account, while Rs85m was received from this account into other disclosed bank accounts.
During the perusal process, five additional PTI bank accounts have been revealed, which have not been declared by the PTI. A sum of Rs161.1m was transferred to these undisclosed bank accounts from disclosed bank accounts.
The ruling party did not disclose all its bank accounts in its audited annual accounts before the ECP as required by the law.
The report states that the PTI did not provide list of signatories of nine bank accounts without justification. It notes that the letter (dated Feb 25, 2019) of Bank Islami Limited (KASB Bank Limited) shared for perusal that identified the signatories of bank accounts did not include second page of the letter.
“This page must be shared to ensure that all the information provided by the bank becomes part of the record,” petitioner Babar said.
The report also reveals payments to certain party leaders. “We noticed transactions (deposits & payments) with certain PTI leaders, which need to be investigated. As an example, we noted Rs1.499 million was paid to Mr Asad Umar and Rs7 million to Ms Ayla Malik,” it says.
Meanwhile, the PTI rejected the report as “a pack of lies and figment of imagination of Akbar S. Babar”. Commenting on the report, PTI central information secretary Ahmad Jawad said the party had submitted all the documents sought by the ECP and its scrutiny committee. He said the PTI had also provided details of its 40,000 donors.
Mr Jawad said all the money in the PTI accounts came through legal banking channels and asserted that the party received no prohibited funding.
Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2021