Plea bargain between ex-banker and NAB approved

Dawn

KARACHI: An accountability court on Wednesday approved a plea bargain between a former banker and the National Accountability Bureau in a case pertaining to accumulating Rs20.7 million assets beyond his known sources of income.
Accused Mohammad Asif, who had been declared a proclaimed offender by the accountability court in connection with a reference filed in 2003, was arrested at Karachi airport upon his arrival from the United States on March 21.
Judge Aaliya Latif Unnar of the Accountability Court-II also directed the superintendent of the Karachi central prison to release the accused if his custody was not required in any other case.
He had filed an application through his counsel in court stating that he had entered into a plea bargain arrangement with NAB authorities under Section 25(b) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999. The NAB authorities had accepted his offer/plea bargain on April 9, it added.
The accused was booked in a 16-year-old case pertaining to assets beyond known sources of income
Therefore, the court was requested to accept the plea bargain between the accused and the federal anti-graft watchdog in terms of Section 25(b) whereby the NAB authorities had discharged the accused from the reference filed against him as he returned Rs20.7m worth of his assets accumulated beyond the known sources of income.
Under the plea bargain, he also stood disqualified in terms of Section 10 of the NAO, 1999, it added.
The court approved the plea bargain between the detained accused and the NAB authorities.
On the last date, the court had directed the investigating officer to return the accused his original passport of the United States of America and his National ID Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP).
In the reference filed in 2003, the bureau had alleged that the accused was appointed as manager in the United Bank Limited in December 1984, and that he attended the office till Sept 18, 1994.
It further alleged that the accused remained absent till May 1996 but continued to receive his salary and allowances until he was dismissed from service in 1998 over misconduct and his involvement in corrupt practices.
The bureau claimed that an investigation had revealed that the accused had received Rs381,430 till May 1996, but he had purchased a bungalow in DHA Karachi for Rs1,200,000 and also bought the Karachi Stock Exchange membership card for Rs10m.
It alleged that the accused had accumulated assets worth Rs20.7m beyond his known sources of income. However, the accused absconded and fled to the US.

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