NAB reference against Agha Siraj, family filed

KARACHI: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed a reference against Sindh Assembly speaker Agha Siraj Durrani and his family members, among 20 persons, in an accountability court.

In the reference, the federal anti-graft watchdog alleged that the Mr Durrani accumulated assets worth over Rs161 billion through illegal means.

Mr Durrani, a senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, was arrested by the NAB from an Islamabad hotel on Feb 20 for investigation into his alleged movable and immovable assets beyond his known sources of income, making 352 illegal appointments, embezzlement of public funds in the construction of the MPA Hostel and the new Sindh Assembly building, as well as the appointment of project directors for these schemes.

The administrative judge Dr Sher Bano Karim fixed the matter on June 17 to pass an order about accepting the reference or otherwise since the summer vacations would start on June 2.

The reference was filed after Mr Durrani was interrogated during his physical remand in the NAB custody for over 50 days and subsequently he was remanded in judicial custody on April 13.

The reference named Mr Durrani’s wife Naheed Durrani, son Agha Shahbaz Ali Khan Durrani, daughters – Sanam, Shahana and Sara – his younger brother Agha Masihuddin Khan Durrani with 13 others.

The others included his personal secretary Zulfiqar Ali Dahar, a schoolteacher, Shamshad Khatoon, real estate agent Aslam Pervaiz Langah and town officer Shakeel Ahmed Soomro.

The reference, filed by investigating officer Asif Raza, mentioned that the evidence collected during the inquiry and investigation established that Mr Durrani after becoming minister for local government (from April 12, 2008 till March 20, 2013) and Speaker Sindh Assembly (since May 30, 2013) accumulated the assets/pecuniary resources worth Rs1,610,669,528 (after deduction of declared income in the Federal Board of Revenue) through illegal means and in active connivance with his 19 coaccused, who are his family members, servants and front-men as benamidars.

It said further a supplementary reference would be filed, if necessary, after arrest of the accused persons who were absconders. Thus, the accused persons have committed the offence of corruption and corrupt practices as defined under Sections 9(a)(iii)(iv)(v) and (xii) punishable under Section 10 of the NAO, 1999 and scheduled thereto.

It mentioned that Mr Durrani declared to the NAB his income from 1985 till June 2018 as Rs82,927,218 and total gross income of the family declared to the FBR was Rs110,460,343. However, the properties/assets/expenditure incurred in his name as well as in the name of his family members/dependants and benamidars had so far been determined at Rs1,721,129,871. He failed to reasonably explain the difference of Rs1,610,669, 528.

The value of the assets found in the name of his wife, Naheed Durrani, was Rs108,069,400, the reference stated, adding that she failed to prove her claim of having purchased them from her agriculture income and saving.

The properties in the name of Sanam Durrani valued around over Rs20 million, but she distanced herself from the case saying that she was married and a foreign national living abroad for many years and had no nexus with the case.