| During briefing to PAC, NAB chief promises to provide complete details of all looted money

 

ISLAMABAD   -   In a surprise revelation, Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal informed the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday that the UK-based asset recovery firm Broadsheet LLC has no link with the man who has apologized to former premier Nawaz Sharif.

The CEO of asset recovery firm Broadsheet, Kaveh Moussavi recently had issued an apology to the PML-N supreme leader through a video interview for the allegations of corruption.

“We found a lot of plundered wealth [linked to others], but I can categorically state after virtually 21 years of investigation that not one rupee was related to Mr. Nawaz Sharif or any member of his family. If anyone says otherwise they are lying,” Moussavi said.

However, without naming him, the NAB chairman said that Broadsheet has not apologized to Sharif and the one who has apologized is someone else, saying he didn’t want to go into details and interfere into politics. “Broadsheet has not apologized; the one who has apologized is someone else,” the chairman of the anti-graft body said, adding “basically, he [Moussavi] has no connection with Broadsheet.”

The statement was made by the Chairman NAB while responding to PML-N leader Khawaja Asif in PAC who asked him if he could share breakdown of Broadsheet inquiries over the years.

Asif said, the head of the Broadsheet apologized to Sharif on grounds that Broadsheet couldn’t find anything against him. The NAB chief denied that Broadsheet has apologized.

When Asif emphasized that the man had been associated with Broadsheet for a long time, he replied that he didn’t want to go into details and interfere into politics.

The Chairman NAB, however, agreed to provide complete breakdown of Broadsheet inquiries but suggested that the report of Broadsheet Inquiry Commission, prepared by Supreme Court Justice (retd) Azmat Saeed Sheikh, be first read as it has addressed the issues in detail, saying if anything was left to be answered then he would.

A few seconds later, the NAB chief assured Asif that he would satisfy the query by providing each and every detail but once again asked to read the Commission’s report. He also clarified that Broadsheet was contacted years before he took charge as the NAB chairman.

Admitting the fact, Asif also clarified that he wanted to know how many cases were registered, investigations were ordered, convictions were secured and how much recovery was made with the help of Broadsheet. “I just want these few details,” Asif said.

The NAB chairman quipped that the details being sought would be enough for writing a book, assuring that he would provide the same.

Meanwhile, the Chairman NAB also spoke about the suggestion that the new government should shut NAB or amend the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance of 1999, saying “Amendments are always proposed keeping personal interests and cases in view”.

He urged that his suggestions based on his experiences should also be taken if it is finally decided that the law should be amended. “Amendments in the NAB Ordinance should be based on how much help would it provide in eradicating corruption,” Justice (R) Javed Iqbal said adding, “it shouldn’t be the reason for the change of who will get how much benefit.” He said that the parliament should strengthen NAB via legislation.

In response to a question by PAC chairman Rana Tanveer, Justice (R) Javed Iqbal said that it was “false impression” that NAB favours plea bargain by taking only half or little amount of money from the accused, saying the final authority rests with the court in plea bargain cases and whatever was being taken from accused parties was with the approval of the courts.

On the allegations that accused were still in service despite opting the plea bargain option, he said that it was not correct and “you won’t find anyone in service who has taken plea bargain” as NAB communicates every court order to the relevant authorities. He, however, said that NAB was not the implementing authority.

Replying to Rana Tanveer’s allegations that NAB allegedly remained involved in political engineering, Justice (R) Javed Iqbal challenged to point out a single case where political engineering was evident.

Tanveer while naming a few scandals like LNG, wheat, sugar and medicines said that there shouldn’t be angular or targeted inquiries; they should be transparent. It was also agreed that NAB would provide details of “looted money” by the public office holders and recoveries made in such cases in the next meeting.

The chairman told PAC that NAB has made a total Rs821 billion, including Rs500.650 billion indirect recoveries, Rs198.057 billion bank loans defaults, Rs45.914 billion of court fines imposed and Rs76.952 billion via voluntary return and plea bargain.

Answering a question about recovery in pounds made from Bahria Town’s Malik Riaz Hussain, he said that the amount recovered from Riaz family in London in November 2019 was approximately £140 million, which was transferred to an account administered by the Supreme Court.

When Asif insisted how the criminal proceeds ended up in Malik Riaz’s account, Justice (R) Javed Iqbal replied that there were institutions in the country whom one can’t dare to look into eyes, including apex court, but he would satisfy the query if given time to verify details.