Faryal Talpur's driver claims amnesty on Rs 650 million overseas assets

ISLAMABAD: The amnesty scheme offered by the previous government has brought to the fore a complex dark underworld of dirty money moving across the border through black channels.

An individual who served as a driver for an influential Pakistani political figure has declared properties in Dubai worth around Rs650 million, in a revelation that swung the country’s corruption watchdog into action.
Hamid Samoo believed to be the driver of Talpur family for one and half decades, fled the country on 17th March 2017 via EY234, from Islamabad International Airport as he came under scanner by the authorities for possessing lavish overseas assets.
To probe this multi-million saga, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has issued him a couple of notices to inform them of the source of money, or whether there is any link between his properties and his apparent association with Pakistan Peoples Party’s senior leader Faryal Talpur, sister of former President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari.
Incriminating evidence of connection of Samoo with Mrs Talpur has emerged as his national computerised identity card share his present address with Talpur house i.e.“House No D-75, Kehkshan, Block 5, Clifton Karachi”.
Samoo disclosed multiple properties with an estimated worth of Rs650 million abroad under amnesty scheme 2018.
Properties/assets had included Dubai Hills, Land No.P 162, area 1619sq meters, Plot No. 184, Hadaeq Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid, Dubai, Flat No.102 Business Way Executive Tower, Golf Residence Motor City, Flat No. Global Golf Residency-II, Property No. 2/113 with area of 173sq meters, including some other liquid assets too. He also paid Rs13 million in taxes/fine to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
In his undisclosed income, Mr Samoo further revealed his “undisclosed income/assets” with collective worth of some Rs52 million.
He also disclosed his income worth Rs4.5 million, agricultural land, Survey No. 96 and 363 in Deh Sari Taluka Qasimabad, Hyderabad worth Rs40 million and Rs7 million as cash in hand in Pakistan.
“Hamid Samoo s/o Peerano Samoo, r/o District Umer Kot, is personal and faithful driver of MPA Faryal Talpur for 10 years. He spends most of time with ‘Addi’ [Faryal] Talpur, seldom comes home in Umer-Kot on holy occasions,” wrote one of FIA investigators to his senior colleague.
There also seems an other incriminating evidence which had associated Mr Samoo’s working relations with Mrs Talpur when he had got his cellular SIM registered with the same Clifton Karachi house address on 27th Dec 2003.
Since then he was constantly in contact with the Talpurs while he has been visited Dubai seven times since 2004. Samoo through his lawyer claimed amnesty at FBR headquarters in Islamabad on June 27, 2018.
Dozens of Pakistanis acquired overseas assets through their front men where it is believed that over 7000 plus super rich Pakistanis have bought properties worth an estimated Rs1.1 trillion in the heart of Dubai in the past one-and-a half-decade.
Another similar case of Mrs Talpur is apparently associated with Ghulam Abbas Zardari who gave power of attorney to her in Dubai in 2014.
“The undersigned Ghulam Abbas Zardari, a Pakistani national and holder of passport No (BY–53), in my personal capacity and any other capacity, do hereby appoint Mrs Faryal Talpur [w/o] Mir Munawar Ali Ali Khan Talpur, also a Pakistani national and holder of Passport No (AC—22) to be my true and lawful attorney to be and authorize her fully with the following powers: to buy, sell, transfer, cancel, rent, refund money, consolidate or assign the property owned by me with following details: Flat 603, Floor No: 6, building No: 1, Building Name: Jash Hamad-B-18, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai and to sign all documents before all the competent authorities including Department of Lands and Properties, Real Estate Registrations, Municipalities,” read the power of attorney signed and stamped by Dubai Courts, Notary Public on Nov 30, 2014.
It was also got verified by Dubai Court, Notary Public on May 14, 2018 by investigators. Abbas Zardari had owned two properties i.e. Villa-775 Al-Furjan and Flat-603 Palm Jumerah with collective estimated worth of Rs275 million.
Ghulam Abbas Zardari did not declare his overseas assets in his annual returns in 2017 which had collective worth of estimated Rs83 million in Pakistan.
He showed his agricultural, industrial and commercial income in his returns filed with FBR by paying Rs0.5 million in taxes last year.
PPP leader Murtaz Wahab, who was also shared all the necessary details by local news channel, says, “As I said she [Faryal] has no nexus with the entire story which appears to be based on assumptions and conjectures.” When question about sharing home address, Mr Wahab confirmed the address but said “Mrs Faryal does not live over there [in Clifton Karachi].” About Abbas Zardari’s power of attorney, he said, “[Power of Attorney] It may be authentic but how can it be portrayed as a document in her favour when it doesn’t even bear her signature.”
About Mr Samoo’s properties declared under amnesty scheme, Wahab said, “Have told you all these allegations were raised at the time of elections and all were dismissed by ECP & High Court election tribunal.”
Abbas Zardari and Hamid Samoo and their families were approached by local news channel to know their thoughts. Despite repeated attempts to approach them via operative numbers (on texts and whatapps) this correspondent did not get their response till filing of this story.