ISLAMABAD: The National Ac­­c­ountability Bureau (NAB) on Friday formed its prosecution team to pursue a fresh Toshakhana reference made against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi.

A source in the NAB said the prosecution team of the anti-graft watchdog was being headed by NAB’s Deputy Prosecution General (Account­abi­lity) Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi. Other team members are: special prosecutors Irfan Ahmed Bola, Sohail Arif and Owais Arshad. The NAB team will attend a hearing of the reference being conducted in Adiala Jail today (Saturday), where Imran Khan has been imprisoned.

On Dec 19, NAB filed a fresh reference against PTI founder Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi in an accountability court for retaining a jewellery set received from Saudi crown prince against undervalued assessment.

According to a copy of the reference available with Dawn, the anti-graft watchdog has alleged that during his term as prime minister, Imran Khan and his wife had received a total of 108 gifts from different heads of states and foreign dignitaries.

Of those gifts, they allegedly retained 58 gifts against an undervalued amount over Rs142 million.

“Out of these 108 gifts, the accu­sed persons retained 58 gift boxes/sets against an undervalued amount of Rs142.1 million as assessed by appraisers,” the reference said.

The instant reference pertains only to the Graff jewellery set recei­ved from Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman and retained against a highly undervalued assessment by the above-mentioned accused persons. It said the NAB chairman delegated the powers to authorise an inquiry on the subject matter to director general NAB, Rawalpindi, on Aug 1, 2022. The DG authorised an inquiry on Aug 5, 2022. Subsequently, the inquiry was upgraded into the investigation on July 14, 2023.

During the course of inquiry, it transpired that during his tenure as PM, Imran Khan and his wife received 108 gifts. It emerged during the course of investigation that accused Bushra Imran, being wife of accused, received a Graff jewellery set from the crown prince of Saudi Arabia during an official visit. The gift was reported to Toshakhana of the cabinet division by deputy military secretary vide letter dated 24.09.2020 but the same was not deposited in accordance with Procedure for the Acceptance and Disposal of Gifts 2018 for true and transparent assessment.

“As per evidence collected so far, Bushra Bibi, in connivance with Imran Khan, violated the clause-1 of the procedure by not depositing the gift at Toshakhana prior to its retention. The accused in connivance with each other, unlawfully exerted pressure and undue influence on Sohaib Abbasi, private appraiser (approver) through Syed Inam Ullah Shah (former PS/comptroller to Imran Khan /PM Office) in order to have illegally undervalued assessment of Graff jewellery set of their own choice and illegally retained the same against payment of meager amount of Rs9.031 million (approx.) on the basis of undervalued price assessment of Rs18,092,000,” the reference said.

It said it was established that the assessment conducted by Sohaib Abbasi and government appraiser was highly undervalued. For the purpose of true assessment, an expert from Diamond and Jew­ellery industry namely Imran Ba­­sh­­ir of Rainbow Impex FZE, Dub­ai, was also engaged to assist the anti-graft watchdog in investigation of the case.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2023

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