NAB summons accused on June 3 in fourth reference

Tribune

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court in Islamabad on Monday held the first hearing of the fourth reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with the fake accounts case.
Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik, while hearing the reference pertaining to irregularities in the Thatta water supply project, ordered the NAB to ensure presence of all suspects in the next hearing on June 3.
Ten out of the 13 suspects nominated in the reference appeared in court while Omni group’s chief executive officer Abdul Ghani Majeed could not be presented.
The remaining accused are: Ejaz Ahmed Khan, former secretary of the Special Initiative Department of Sindh; Hassan Ally Memon, project director/chairman of the procurement committee for the water supply scheme, Thatta; and members of the committee, namely Ali Akbar Abro, Aijaz Ahmed Memon, Athar Nawaz Durrani, Abdul Haleem Memon, Mohammad Farrukh Khan, Mohammad Ramzan, Mohammad Siddiq Sulemani and Zeeshan Hasan Yousaf; private contractor Harish, Omni Group CEO Khawaja Abdul Ghani Majeed, and Menahel Majeed.
The NAB prosecutor maintained that Abdul Ghani Majeed was held at Karachi’s Malir Jail. The court adjourned the hearing till June 3.
The anti-corruption watchdog has filed four references so far in the fake accounts case.
In this reference, NAB has accused ex-secretary Khan as well as the chairman and members of the procurement committee of misusing authority for the illegal award of different contracts to private contractors. The bureau says that the accused persons created fake accounts and purchased plots from the ill-gotten money.
According to the reference, Omni Group CEO Majeed purchased a plot, which has since been confiscated by the bureau, in the upscale Defence Housing Authority (DHA) of Karachi in the name of his spouse Menahel Majeed.
Former president Asif Zardari and his sister have also been named in NAB references pertaining to the fake bank accounts case.
The FIA had named Mr Zardari, Ms Talpur, Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed, his sons and over 10 others as suspects in an interim charge sheet filed in the banking court in August 2018 for alleged money laundering to the tune of over Rs4 billion, after 29 ‘fake’ bank accounts were found in three banks.
The case has since been transferred from the Federal Investigation Agency to the NAB on the request of the bureau’s chairman. A banking court in Karachi transferred the case to the accountability court of Islamabad even though the move was opposed by the accused.
In another reference related to the illegal allotment of plots, NAB nominated nine accused persons. They are: Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) former administrator Mohammad Hussain Syed, former metropolitan commissioners of KMC Matanat Ali Khan and Shamsuddin Siddique, former director of the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) Najamuz Zaman, additional director Syed Jamil Ahmed, Abdul Rashid, Abdul Ghani Majeed and Younus Kidwai.
The bureau contents that these officials misused their authority and illegally allotted amenity plots to non-entitled persons. The reference alleged that they were involved in illegal allotment of plots reserved for libraries and temple, causing a loss of billions of rupees to the national exchequer.
NAB has also filed the Pink Residency reference against a close aide to Mr Zardari, as well as other senior serving and retired officers of the Sindh Board of Revenue. The reference alleged that the accused had in connivance with each other illegally regularised two plots of 23 and seven acres, causing a loss of Rs4 billion to the national exchequer.

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