NAB board approves 1st reference in fake accounts case

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) executive board granted approval for filing of the first reference pertaining to the fake bank accounts and mega money laundering case.

NAB Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal chaired the executive board meeting which granted approval for the filing of six corruption references, including one pertaining to the fake bank account case.

A notification issued after the meeting stated, “Approval was granted for the filing of a reference against Khawaja Abdul Ghani Majeed, chief executive officer Omni Group of companies, and others. The suspects are accused of fake bank accounts and illegally regularising seven acres of official land. The suspects caused a Rs1.422 billion loss to the national exchequer.”

The executive board of the accountability watchdog also gave the go-ahead for the filing of a reference against Ijaz Ahmed Khan, former secretary Special Initiative Department Sindh. The former secretary of Special Initiative Department is accused of misuse of power and favouritism in awarding supply scheme contracts, the notification read. The suspect caused a loss of Rs29.25 million to the national exchequer, it added.

A reference against  Ali Gohar Dahri and others has also been accorded approval. As per the notification, the suspects are accused of misuse of power and illegal appointments. The suspects caused a loss of Rs74.85 million to the national exchequer, it said.

Further, the executive board granted approval for the filing of a reference against former CDA Planning Wing director general Ghulam Sarwar Sindhu and others. The suspects have been accused of corruption and misuse of power in allotting 4.5 acres of land for a shuttle bus service in the diplomatic enclave. This caused a loss of Rs408.32 million to the national exchequer, the notification upheld.

Approval was also given for a reference against former secretary of Workers Welfare Fund (WWF) Iftikhar Rahim Khan and others over charged of corruption and embezzlement of funds. The suspects caused a loss of Rs466 million to the national exchequer, according to the notification.

The notification further stated that a reference against former administrator Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Muhammad Hussain Syed has also been approved. 

Money laundering case

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) was investing 32 people, including former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed, in relation to money laundering through fictitious bank accounts.

Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested in July last year in connection with the probe. The former president’s other close aide and Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed and his son, Abdul Ghani, were arrested by FIA in August 2018.

The Supreme Court in September 2018 had taken notice and constituted a joint investigation team to probe the matter. The JIT had filed its report and also recommended a directive for NAB to conduct a thorough inquiry.

In January 2019, the Supreme Court had referred the JIT report to NAB to launch its probe and complete it within two months.

On March 15, a banking court in Karachi approved the NAB chairman’s petition and transferred the money laundering case to an accountability court in Islamabad for trial.