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NA deputy secretary faces NAB reference

December 25, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Dec 24: The National Assembly Deputy Secretary Tariq Ayub Khakwani faces reference in an accountability court of Islamabad, which was filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) recently.

The accused, however, filed an application in the same court on Monday, seeking acquittal in the case.

In the reference, filed in second week of December, NAB alleged that the deputy secretary of the National Assembly had built assets of Rs26.86 million, which happened to be beyond his known sources of income.

Therefore, legal proceedings under Section 9 of NAB Ordinance could be initiated against him, the reference said.

According to the NAB reference, Mr Khakwani was inducted in the National Assembly in 1993 as Public Relations Officer of the then Speaker (Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani). In 1997 he was promoted as deputy secretary of the National Assembly.

NAB started investigation against Mr Khakwani a couple of years back after receiving an anonymous complaint against him.

The complainant alleged that he had not only accumulated the assets beyond his sources of income, but had not mentioned them even in his tax returns.

Advocate Shuaib Shaheen, Mr Khakwani’s counsel, also submitted an application before the court for the acquittal of his client.

Accountability court judge Mehmood Bashir after hearing preliminary arguments on Monday adjourned the case till January 2.

Advocate Shuaib Shaheen when contacted termed the reference against his client weak. He said NAB had failed to produce any tangible evidence against him.

He pointed out that the reference was full of errors and was initiated on a complaint filed by some unknown person.

Under the rules, NAB could initiate investigation against any government officer but when the bureau received a particular complaint, it was mandatory for it to acquire the particulars of the complainant, the counsel said.

He said the NAB investigators did not produce any direct evidence of corruption or corrupt practices against Mr Khakwani adding that the senior officials of National Assembly secretariat had also given his client a clean chit and had opposed action against him.

According to him, Mr Khakwani, during his service got a lawful plot and later sold it for Rs6.3 million.

He was of the opinion that in the past, Mr Khakwani faced inquiries because of his close relations with the former prime minister, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, and still he was facing the same situation for honouring his commitment to him.

Senior lawyer and member Pakistan Bar Council, Mohammad Ramzan Chaudhry, however, told Dawn that NAB ordinance empowered the bureau to initiate inquiry on anonymous complaint.

He referred to a reference against Sadiq Ali Khan, former managing director of Utility Stores Corporation (USC), who was being tried in an accountability court of Rawalpindi.

"The reference against Sadiq Ali Khan was based on an anonymous complaint," he said.

After receipt of a complaint, NAB starts an inquiry and on the basis of its findings it prepares a reference and submits it to the accountability court, he added.