Saeed’s plea: judgement reserved

Business Recorder

Accountability Court Wednesday reserved its verdict on former President National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) Saeed Ahmed’s plea seeking acquittal in corruption reference filed against former Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar in which he is one of the co-accused. While hearing the corruption reference against Dar for having assets beyond means, Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir reserved his judgement on Ahmed’s acquittal application after his counsel Hashmat Habib and Prosecutor National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Afzal Qureshi completed their arguments. The court on July 23, 2018 reserved its judgement on the same application but later, on the request of the co-accused on January 30, 2019, allowed his counsel for further arguments on his acquittal plea. All the three co-accused including Saeed, Mansoor Raza Rizvi and Naeem Mehmood, and both the directors of Dar’s companies, appeared before the court. Arguing before the court, Habib said that first inquiry against Dar was started in 2007 which was later closed but Ahmed’s bank accounts existed earlier. The lawyer rejected the impression about Ahmed’s appointment as the NBP president on personal choice, adding that his client’s appointment was made in accordance with the rules and regulations. He said the process of his client’s removal from his position was humiliating. Neither was Ahmed benamidar of Dar nor was his dependent, he further said. While arguing before the court, Prosecutor NAB Afzal Qureshi said that the statements of Wajid Zia, head of joint investigation team (JIT) that probed the Panama Papers case, and three other witnesses are yet to be recorded. He requested the court to reject Ahmed’s acquittal plea. Qureshi pleaded to record the statements of Sidra Mansoor and Salman Ghani of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) again, which the court approved. The court reserved its verdict on the plea after both the parties completed their arguments and adjourned the hearing till February 20.

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