ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecution in the £190 million corruption reference admitted before the Islamabad High Court that the order of the National Crimes Agency (NCA) that confiscated the amount sent by property tycoon Malik Riaz was not brought into the judicial record.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahan­giri resumed hearing on the petitions.

Special Prosecutor Amjad Pervaiz was arguing on the post-arrest bail petitions of former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi in this reference.

In response to Justice Jahangiri’s query about whether the prosecution obtained the certified copy that froze Mr Riaz’s money, the prosecutor replied in the negative.

Says deed to unfreeze funds post-NCA confiscation approved without cabinet disclosure

When the judge asked if the prosecution had the order to unfreeze the amount, Mr Pervaiz replied that there was no copy of the certified order, but he mentioned that the documents obtained from the UK included every detail of the case.

Mr Pervaiz argued that the previous PTI government established an Assets Recovery Unit (ARU), headed by then adviser on accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar, which directly reported to the prime minister as it was located at the PM Secretariat.

He said the ARU wrote a letter to the NCA about money laundering by Malik Riaz, as he purchased a property in Hyde Park from Hassan Nawaz.

Mr Pervaiz mentioned that the Supreme Court imposed a Rs460 billion fine on Mr Riaz in a land case, and the amount was recently transferred to the Sindh government.

He said that Bahria Town purchased 458 kanal of land in the name of Zulfi Bukhari months before the Al-Qadir Trust was established, and deliberations on Al-Qadir Trust began after the land was transferred.

He said that the ARU was also dealing with the Bahria Town case at that particular point in time.

The prosecutor said that after the NCA confiscated Mr Riaz’s amount, Mr Akbar prepared a confidential deed to unfreeze this money and got it approved by the federal cabinet, even without sharing its contents with the members of the federal cabinet.

Justice Jahangiri inquired about the reason for which the NCA had frozen the amount.

The prosecutor replied that the NCA confiscated this transaction for being suspicious; however, the accused persons facilitated the transfer of this amount to

Mr Riaz’s account in an illegal manner. Further hearing in this matter has been adjourned till May 13.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2024

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