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Govt forms Committee to probe Broadsheet scandal

-Information Minister says the committee will also investigate ‘how the country’s wealth was stolen by past rulers’
-Kaveh Moussavi says, was offered bribe to drop probe against Sharifs
-Cabinet also approved a bill under which the powers of the auditor general of Pakistan will be enhanced

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information Shibli Faraz on Tuesday said that an inter-ministerial committee has been formed to probe the Broadsheet LLC scandal.
An interview of Broadsheet CEO Kaveh Moussavi has surfaced on YouTube in which he makes several claims regarding the firm’s investigation into the assets of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif held abroad.
“This is a problem that started in 2000 when an NRO was given to PML-N and PPP and then it was as if the matter went into cold storage 200 names were given to the asset recovery firm of people who illegally sent the country’s wealth abroad. Different interviews have come forth and after the High Court’s decision in England, an inter-ministerial committee has been formed to further dissect the matter,” said Faraz.
Faraz said that the committee will not only minutely probe the fine points of the case, it will determine “how the country’s wealth was looted, and how the firm, after it made important discoveries, was approached by someone said to be Nawaz Sharif’s cousin to have the family’s name removed from the matter, after which the CEO said ‘we don’t deal with crooks’”.
The information minister said that those who “made a mockery out of the state institutions, hurt the nation’s wealth and dragged the country into litigation which has caused great embarrassment” will be dealt with after the committee shares its own findings “soon”.
The prime minister, during the meeting urged the cabinet to see to it that the “truth is shared with the nation” in the Broadsheet case.
“You must tell the nation how these people attempted to negotiate with Broadsheet,” PM Imran Khan said to the cabinet.
Earlier, Broadsheet CEO Kaveh Mousavi has said that he was offered a $25 million bribe to drop an asset probe against the Sharif family.
In an exclusive interview to a private channel, he revealed that a person who introduced himself as former premier Nawaz Sharif’s nephew offered the bribe to drop the probe.
“Anjum Dar had several photographs of himself sitting with Nawaz Sharif. He said he was his [Nawaz’s] nephew. I have witnesses who were sitting with me in that meeting,” Mousavi said.
UK-based asset recovery firm Broadsheet LLC was hired in 2000 by General Pervez Musharraf’s government to help recover assets stashed by past Pakistani rulers abroad.
“He offered us $25 million to go away,” the firm owner said. “I was a bit confused…Because Sharifs were not in power and it was Zardari’s government. The massage was they didn’t want this thing to go any further. They didn’t want any further investigation.”
He said he refused to take the bribe.
When asked if his firm found anything about Sharif and Zardari, he replied that he pointed out Zardari’s estate in Surrey, which, to “lasting shame of the Government of Pakistan was restored to Mr Zardari.”
“Whole my efforts to grab it and sell it on behalf of the Government of Pakistan were sabotaged,” he said.
Auditor general’s powers enhanced: Faraz said that the cabinet also approved a bill under which the powers of the auditor general of Pakistan will be enhanced to ensure transparency.
He also said that automation and digitisation will be introduced in the office of the auditor general and issuance of cheques will be automated to prevent any kind of delay and fraud.
The minister vowed that the government is working hard to bring about institutional reforms and it was decided that these will be made public soon.Crackdown against petrol smuggling: Furthermore, a crackdown has begun against petrol pumps selling smuggled petrol the information minister said.
“A crackdown has started against petrol pumps involved in selling substandard smuggled petrol, which poses hazards not only to the environment, but also adversely impacts functionality of the vehicles,” according to the publication.
Due to the sale of smuggled petrol, a loss of Rs180 billion rupees to the national exchequer has been witnessed, said Faraz, adding that 2,090 pumps have been identified that are involved in such dealings.
He said that so far 192 petrol pumps have been sealed for selling substandard smuggled oil and that these fueling stations have been directed to furnish record of their sale and purchase within one week.PM orders new probe in Satti case if family unsatisfied: Faraz said that during the meeting, Minister for Planning Asad Umar raised the matter of the death of Osama Nadeem Satti in police firing over which Prime Minister Imran Khan “expressed his strong displeasure and annoyance”.
The Joint Investigation Committee formed to investigate the killing has presented its report to the interior secretary, but the prime minister “expressed the resolve that new probe would be arranged if family members of the deceased youth are not satisfied with the JIT’s findings”, the national broadcaster added.
The minister said an inquiry will be organised “to the satisfaction of Osama Satti’s family” and the culprits will be brought to justice.Policy of shortage of food commodities: Faraz said the prime minister also instructed the formulation of a policy within fifteen days to address the shortage of wheat and other food items in the country.

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