Fake accounts case: Bilawal to appear before NAB on May 17

NAB submits details of probe against Zardari in IHC


Staff Report


Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on May 17.

NAB has summoned PPP Chairman in the Park Lane case.

The spokesperson for the PPP chief Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar confirmed his appearance on May 17. Khokhar also rubbished rumours that Bilawal had not responded to NAB’s queries, saying that such reports were unfounded. The spokesperson advised the media to “uphold its reputation and report verified news instead of spreading rumours”.

Khokhar also accused NAB of “becoming an instrument of the government and using revenge tactics against the PPP leadership”. He said that the bureau was “relying on media trials” because the corruption cases against the party leadership were “fabricated”.

This will be Bilawal’s second appearance before NAB after he was summoned along with his father former president Asif Zali Zardari on March 20 where he was grilled in three corruption cases: an alleged purchase and demarcation of a land in Islamabad by Park Lane Estates (Pvt) Limited — of which Bilawal was a minor shareholder — as well as a loan allegedly obtained by the firm.

Meanwhile, NAB on Tuesday submitted details of its ongoing investigation against former president and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in fake bank accounts case in the Islamabad High Court.

NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi submitted the bureau’s report detailing the ongoing inquiries against Zardari.

The former president had requested the high court to seek details of the number of cases against him. He wanted the details to be prepared for pre-emptive measures fearing arrest.

In the report, NAB has stated that there are a total of 26 inquiries being conducted in relation to the fake accounts case. The bureau has also said that it started its probe into the fake accounts on the Supreme Court’s orders.

The accountability watchdog has further established Zardari’s role in at least eight cases pertaining to money laundering through fictitious bank accounts. A total of 35 petitions have been filed in the fake accounts case at the moment, the report said. Arrests warrants have been issued against Zardari in only one case, the report stated.

A copy of the NAB report was sent to Zardari’s legal team on the court’s directive.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is investigating more than 30 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur. Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested in July 2018 in connection with the probe.

The former president’s other close aide and Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed a close aide and Omni Group chairman and his son, Abdul Ghani, were arrested by FIA in August 2018.

Several ‘benami’ accounts at multiple private banks were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made, according to sources.

The amount, according to FIA sources, is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions and bribes.