KARACHI: An accountability court acquitted on Friday six accused in a case pertaining to over Rs1.5 billion misappropriation of customs funds in the National Bank of Pakistan.

Muzaffar Ali Zuberi, the in charge of the Air Freight Unit (AFU) of the NBP Airport branch, Muhammad Shakeel Ahmed, Muhammad Afzal, Waqas Ahmed Khan, Asif Siddiqui and Sarwar Khan were exonerated from the charges of embezzling/misappropriating the customs tax collections between 2008 and 2013.

Accountability Court-VI Judge Tasneem Sultana pronounced her verdict reserved after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides.

The prosecution alleged that Zuberi during his posting as AFU in charge at NBP’s Airport branch while misusing his official authority deputed two private persons — co-accused Siddiqui as a security guard and Khan at the bank booth — and got their clearance of selected Goods Declarations (GDs) on a credit basis.

They illegally pocketed daily cash collection into bank accounts for depositing duties and taxes in cash and pay orders.

It added that both the bank accounts were being operated by the Customs, adding that during 2008-2013 a huge amount of custom collections from said bank accounts were misappropriated/ embezzled as main accused Zuberi was running an illegal parallel banking system and without having any authority had transferred a huge amount to private

The watchdog alleged that Zuberi, Siddiqui and Ahmed had illegally pocketed the NBP funds by depositing huge amount of money in their personal bank accounts, which were otherwise supposed to be deposited in the official bank accounts.

However, defence counsel Shaukat Hayat argued that the prosecution failed to provide forensic evidence in the shape of audit reports of the official as well as personal bank accounts of his clients to prove the money trail.

He further argued that there were glaring material contradictions in the prosecution’s story.

The counsel pleaded the court to acquit his client of false and fabricated allegations levelled by the prosecution.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2022

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