ISLAMABAD, July 22: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday released a seven-month-old order of a Swiss examining magistrate which casts "suspicion" on former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and her family members for obtaining commissions in Ursus tractor deals negotiated during the 1990s.

The orders of the Swiss examining magistrate were released at a press conference held at the NAB headquarters.

The court's order does not declare Ms Bhutto, her husband Asif Ali Zardari and other accused "guilty", but it says they are "suspected" to have secured benefits through kickbacks and commissions.

"Mrs Benazir Bhutto, the then prime minister, her husband, Mr Asif Ali Zardari, her mother, Nusrat Bhutto, are suspected of having collected in the course of 90s corruption commissions on several government contracts concluded with foreign companies dealing with arms, agriculture material and merchandise inspection," the court orders said.

The NAB spokesman said the court orders had clearly established the involvement of Ms Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari in the corruption case. However, PPP spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar said that Ms Bhutto and her family members had no links with the scam, and they were being involved in it to victimise them.

"If the Swiss court has allowed the restitution of the money to Pakistan then it belongs only to DARGAL, and Ms Bhutto and her family has nothing to do with this company," he said.

The NAB spokesman said the PPP parliamentarian's claim that the case regarding restitution of the amount from DARGAL Associated SA Accounts had nothing to do with Benazir Bhutto was baseless and untrue.

The spokesman provided to the newsmen copies of the 'Order of Restitution' in the French language as well as its translation into English.

He said the facts of the case, State vs Benazir Bhutto and nine others, provided to the media, suspected that the accused persons in connivance with each other indulged in acts of corruption and corrupt practices by purchasing 5,900 Russian and Polish made URSUS Tractors at a cost Rs150,000 each under the Awami Tractor Scheme (ATS) in violation of law, rules and regulations of the Agriculture Development Bank of Pakistan, presently known as the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL).

The spokesman said the decision about importing tractors was made by the then minister for food and agriculture, Nawab Yousaf Talpur, against the advice of the Technical Evaluation Team and the decision of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) dated May 3, 1994.

The spokesman said the accused had caused a loss of Rs268.30 million to the ZTBL and a loss of Rs1.671 billion to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on account of exemption from customs duty and sales tax.

He claimed that Ms Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari received 7.15 per cent commission on purchase of tractors through their front men, Jens Schlegelmilch and Didier Plantin of Dargal S.A., who received about $1.969 million for supplying 5,900 Ursus Tractors.

The spokesman said that Benazir Bhutto was the principal accused in the Ursus Tractor case while the co-accused in the same case were Asif Ali Zardari, Nawab Yousaf Talpur, former minister for agriculture, Badruddin Zahidi, former chairman of the ADBP, A M H Kangu, former DG of Awami Tractor Scheme, Jens Schlegelmilch, Didier Plantin, Steve Shanks, Zigniew Bzideck, Zakaldy Przemyshu Chiagnikowego "Ursus" and Amer Lodhi.


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