Payment of damages to Broadsheet

Pakistan Today

Serious flaws in the working of NAB. NAB and Pakistan government were once again required to make payments to Broadsheet LLC, this time amounting to $1.2 million within a precisely defined time frame failing which the United National Bank (UBL-UK) would be compelled to transfer the secured sum to Broadsheet’s lawyers’ account. Broadsheet reportedly took recourse to litigation when the government delayed implementation of the agreement. In January the PTI government agreed to pay $28.7 million in damages to the US firm after Arbitrator Sir Anthony Evan’s decision to attach the accounts of the Pakistan High Commission in London. Both the incidents brought bad name to the country that could have been avoided by an out-of-court settlement.
The judgement by Arbitrator Sir Anthony Evan had revealed major follies committed by NAB and its lawyers since 2000, like signing a clause with Broadsheet that allowed the latter to claim a 20 percent commission on all NAB recoveries outside Pakistan and also domestically, including cases that Broadsheet may not have been involved in. Pakistan agreed to settle with Broadsheet but ended up giving $1.5 million to the wrong person. The judgement held NAB and its lawyers responsible as they should have known that the person they were making the payment to was not the legal recipient of the money. The judgment did not suit the government which had already started accusing the PPP and PMLN for the scandal.
The government appointed former Supreme Court judge Azmat Saeed Sheikh as head of the inquiry committee to probe the issue expecting that that the enquiry would bring to light evidence regarding the corruption of its political opponents. The inquiry committee could not find any evidence against politicians who obviously played no role in the misdoings. With so many sacred cows involved in the scandal, it was difficult to assign responsibilities.
Pakistan had to pay about $30 million straightaway to Broadsheet. How much foreign exchange was allocated to pursue the case in two courts and on the visits of government officials to the UK has not been revealed. Have the NAB and Assets Recovery Unit retrieved more looted wealth from abroad than the foreign exchange expended on the activity? There is a need for a cost benefit analysis, all the more so when the country faces a severe foreign exchange crunch.

Comments are closed.