ISLAMABAD: An Isla­m­abad accountability court on Monday froze properties of five accused, including property tycoon Malik Riaz and his son, who have been declared proclaimed offenders in a 190 million-pound corruption case.

The accountability judge, Mohammad Bashir, issued orders to freeze movable and immovable properties of Mr Riaz and his son, Ahmed Ali Riaz; aides to former prime minister Zulfi Bukhari and Mirza Shahzad Akbar; Farhat Shahzadi aka Farah Khan; and a lawyer, Ziaul Mustafa Nasim.

Their perpetual arrest warrants were also issued.

The court has ordered revenue officers across the country to seize the offenders’ immovable properties. The excise and taxation officers have been ordered to confiscate vehicles registered in their names.

Commercial banks have been directed to freeze their accounts and not allow transactions or withdrawals.

The judge also appointed an additional director of NAB as a “receiver” to collect rental income from the properties owned by these suspects.

When the case proceedings resumed on Monday, the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) prosecution team, headed by Sardar Muzaffar Khan Abbasi, shared a copy of the reference with the counsel for Mr Khan.

Since Bushra Bibi, the spouse of former prime minister Imran Khan, didn’t appear before the court, the judge warned her of issuing non-bailable warrants.

The former prime minister and his spouse have also been nominated as accused in this reference filed by NAB.

The prosecution also submitted the details of movable and immovable properties owned by the suspects, as the judge invoked Section 88 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The said section authorises a court to order attachment — the process of seizing properties — when an accused has been declared a proclaimed offender.

On Jan 6, Mr Riaz, the property tycoon, made a last-ditch effort to avert the confiscation of his properties when he filed an application seeking suspension of his arrest warrants.

In his application filed before the court, Mr Riaz stated that he was not aware of the proceedings initiated against him as he was abroad. He added that he had recently learned about the case and wanted to join the proceedings.

The judge, however, dismissed the application and refused to suspend the arrest warrants.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2024

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