Nawaz, Zardari named in new NAB case

By Shakeel Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday filed the Toshakhana reference in an accountability court against high-profile suspects, including two former prime ministers and a former president, reported Geo News.
NAB named former president Asif Ali Zardari, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as suspects in the case, reported Geo News.
Zardari and Gilani hail from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), while Sharif is the de-facto leader of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
Khawaja Anwar Majeed and Khawaja Abdul Ghani Majeed, the the owners of the Omni group were also named as suspects in the reference.
The Omni group owners are also involved in the fake bank accounts scam being investigated by NAB.
According to the accountability bureau, former president Zardari and former premier Sharif obtained cars from the Toshakana by paying 15 per cent of the price of the cars.
The bureau further alleged that former premier Gilani facilitated Zardari and Nawaz in this regard. Sharif and Zardari are currently out on bail in other corruption cases against them.
The reference filed by NAB alleges that Zardari was gifted luxury cars by the governments of Libya and United Arab Emirates, and he used them instead of submitting them to the Toshakhana.
The accountability watchdog claimed that former premier Nawaz was given a car from the Toshakhana by the PPP government in 2008 despite the fact that he did not hold any official position in the government.
NAB has requested the court to conduct a trial and sentence the accused to the strictest possible jail terms under the NAB Ordinance for their involvement in the corruption scam.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday filed a reference against former President Asif Ali Zardari, former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Yousuf Raza Gilani and two others over charges of getting luxury vehicles and gifts from Toshakhana. The reference is filed at the accountability court Rawalpindi.
In January 2020, the members of the executive board in a meeting chaired by NAB chairman Justice Retd Javed Iqbal approved three references against former premiers, Nawaz Sharif and Yousaf Raza Gillani, and ex-president Asif Ali Zardari over the charges.
A reference was also filed against Anwar Majeed and Abdul Ghani Majeed for paying the taxes of the luxury vehicles imported via Toshakhana.
The reference said that the former president kept the luxury vehicles given as gifts from the UAE and Libya instead of handing them over to Toshakhana and paid their tax amounts using fake bank accounts.
It said that former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani gave undue favour to the president and Nawaz Sharif during his tenure also allowed to handover the vehicles to Asif Zardari.
“Asif Zardari asked Anwar Majeed and Abdul Ghani Majeed to pay for the taxes of the vehicles,” it said adding that they used the fake bank accounts to pay the amount.
The reference said that all of the accused used their influence to commit the wrongdoings.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday filed a reference against alleged corruption in Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). NAB Rawalpindi bureau has filed the reference against former chairperson BISP Farzana Raja and other accused. Ms. Raja remained chairperson of the BISP from year 2008 to 2013 during the tenure of Pakistan People’s Party government.
The reference comprised of 32 volumes has been sent to the Registrar Office for scrutiny, in which overall 19 persons have been made party.
The Executive Board of NAB had approved the filing of reference against former chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme Ms Farzana Raja and others in a meeting in December last year. The executive board meeting chaired by NAB chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, had approved the reference for granting advertisement campaign contract to four advertising agencies in contrary to Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules, which allegedly inflicted Rs 1.46 billion losses to the national exchequer.
The National Accountability Bureau on Monday filed a new reference against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former president Asif Ali Zardari, and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in the fake accounts case.
The reference has been filed at an accountability court in Islamabad.
The reference, a copy of which is available with, also named Omni Group CEO Khawaja Anwar Majid and his son Khawaja Abdul Ghani Majid.
According to the reference, Gilani, in order to extend illegal benefit to accused [Zardari and Nawaz], allowed the retention of vehicles gifted to them by different foreign states and dignitaries by relaxing procedures relating to submission of gifts in the Toshakhana.
The accused “through dishonest and illegal means for their personal benefit and interest” retained the vehicles in question “against a nominal payment of 15 per cent of the total value”, the reference stated. It added that Zardari made the payments for the vehicles through the Omni Group CEO and his son “for which he has no plausible justification.”
“It was established during investigation that these amounts are in the context of illegitimate laundered proceeds for the benefit of the accused,” the reference reads.
The reference maintained that Gilani, in connivance with Zardari and Nawaz, “dishonestly and illegally relaxed the procedure for the acceptance and disposal of gifts […] which stipulate that vehicles shall not be allowed to be purchased by the recipients”.
“The accused [Gilani] floated and suppressed the law and the procedure to grant undue concession, and benefits resulting in wrongful loss to the national exchequer,” the statement added.
According to the reference, during his tenure as president of Pakistan, Zardari accepted and received vehicles as gifts from the United Arab Emirates in 2005 and from Libya in 2008.
“He neither reported the gifted vehicles nor deposited the same. The accused preferred his own personal interests and obtained undue concession and benefits,” it added.
Meanwhile, the reference maintained that Nawaz, who did not hold any public office in 2008, “knowingly and with dishonest intention obtained illegal favour in connivance with [Gilani] by obtaining the relaxation of the said procedure for acceptance and disposal of gifts”.
The fake accounts case pertains to a massive money laundering scam that was being probed by the Federal Investigation Agency.
The suspects include Zardari, Talpur, former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairman Hussain Lawai, Omni Group CEO Anwar Majeed and his sons and several other high profile persons. The case was later taken over by NAB on the Supreme Court’s orders.
On Feb 13, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had appeared before NAB for his alleged transaction with JV Opal-225, a joint venture of real estate tycoon Malik Riaz and Zardari. This was the third time Bilawal had appeared before the anti-graft watchdog.
Addressing a press conference later in the day, Bilawal had questioned why he had been asked to appear before NAB despite the fact that he had never been involved in any malpractice and corruption. He had said that over a year ago the then chief justice had declared him not guilty, adding that he had himself presented before NAB investigators three times and also answered their questions.
The PPP chief had said that he had a detailed talk with the NAB team and they had issued him a questionnaire. “When I wasn’t even a public office holder at the time, what sense did it make that NAB summon me?” he had asked.