Either NAB will be left standing or Pakistan’s economy” – Asif Ali Zardari
PKONWEB Report – Six corruption cases observers estimate involve billions of Rupees in embezzlement, misapproprations and money-laundering are being investigated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Former President and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari among several others is being queried by the anti-graft watchdog.
One of the biggest probes involves fake accounts and their use for money laundering, kickbacks, etc. Other is called Park Lane Estate case.
The former president told accountability officials on Thursday that the bank accounts being termed fake by them were actually ‘business’ accounts and that “everyone in Pakistan has black money”.
Harish and Company is said to be a subsidiary of Mr Zardari’s main firm, Park Lane Estate.
The bureau has decided to file a supplementary reference in the Harish and Company case, nominating the former president as a suspect.
The anti-graft watchdog has claimed that Harish and Company was awarded a contract for water supply from the provincial Special Initiative Department but failed to complete the projects, and the funds were allegedly used to meet the expenses of Naudero House.
Besides Park Lane Estate case, Zardari is also being investigated in Opal 225 property case.
Mr Zardari has also been accused of taking vehicles from Tosha Khana and paying their import duties from fake accounts.
The PPP Co-Chiarperson appeared before the NAB on Thursday in the Harish and Company and Opal Properties cases that were opened under the fake accounts and money laundering case the bureau is already investigating.
“This will be my last appearance before NAB. Either NAB will be left standing or Pakistan’s economy,” Zardari was quoted as having said during his questioning.
Last month, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) summoned records relating to trial proceedings in the ARY Gold and Ursus Tractors references of the bureau against the former president and PPP leader.
In 2007 the then government introduced the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) and NAB withdrew these cases from the accountability courts. But in 2009 the Supreme Court declared the NRO as void ab initio and the cases were revived.
At the time, Mr Zardari was holding the office of president of Pakistan and was enjoying presidential immunity; therefore the accountability court proceeded against the other accused in the ARY and Ursus references and acquitted them. After Mr Zardari completed his term as president, NAB proceeded against him as well.
After the 2013 general elections which brought PML-N into power, Mr Zardari was tried in these references and was acquitted in the subsequent year. NAB challenged the acquittal.
The IHC bench led by Justice Minallah directed the registrar’s office to fix the case for hearing after obtaining the records from the trial court.