Prosecution witness cross-examined in Ishaq Dar assets reference

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court hearing the assets reference against former finance minister Ishaq Dar resumed proceedings today.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed an interim reference against the then-finance minister in September last year on the Supreme Court’s directives in the Panama Papers case.
He was indicted in the case and has been absconding since November.
Later, in a supplementary reference, NAB named National Bank of Pakistan President Saeed Ahmed, Naeem Mehmood and Mansoor Rizvi as co-accused in the case. Mehmood and Rizvi are directors of a company owned by Dar.

All three co-accused appeared in court today.

During today’s hearing, Qazi Misbah, the defence counsel, began the cross-examination of witness Mohammad Azeem, who is a private bank official.

Azeem said he presented Dar’s bank transactions first to NAB and then to the court.

The witness also detailed the transaction history of the former minister.

The hearing was then adjourned until May 16 with directions to the witness to present relevant documents in court.

At the last hearing of the case on May 2, prosecution witness Sher Dil Khan’s statement was recorded.

Khan informed the court that he is the finance director at the National Assembly. He informed the court that he appeared before the investigation officer at NAB Lahore office on August 22, 2017.
He added that NAB had summoned records of Dar’s salary and allowances from him.

The case

Dar, a close aide of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo Nawaz Sharif, is accused of possessing assets disproportionate to his declared sources of income.
NAB filed an interim reference against Dar in September last year in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28, 2017, verdict in the Panama Papers case.
The recently-filed supplementary reference is based on seven volumes and includes the account details of the accused persons, with transactions amounting to $4.06 million, according to NAB’s Special Prosecutor Imran Shafiq.
The three accused in the supplementary reference are identified as directors of Dar’s companies and accused of opening fictitious accounts in his name.
Dar was recently re-elected to the Senate of Pakistan but is yet to take oath as he has been in London since October last year on medical grounds.

On May 8, however, the Supreme Court, while hearing a petition against the acceptance of Dar’s nomination papers, temporarily suspended Dar’s Senate membership and ordered him to appear in court.