ISLAMABAD: The accountability court hearing a corruption reference filed against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday declared the minister an absconder.
Declaring the minister an absconder, the court said that steps will be taken to declare the minister a proclaimed offender within 10 days.
NAB’s investigating officer Nadir Abbass, during an accountability hearing pertaining to Dar’s alleged amassing of assets beyond his known sources of income, told the court that a NAB team had visited the minister’s residence in Lahore and Islamabad after non-bailable arrest warrants were issued against him.
However, Abbass said that Dar was not found at either of his residential addresses as the minister has been in London where he is reportedly undergoing medical treatment.
The investigating officer claimed that the minister is in London to save himself from the court’s action.
A show-cause notice was issued to Dar’s guarantor, who was asked to submit a reply before the court by Nov 24 regarding the minister’s absence from court.
Earlier during the hearing, Dar’s counsel Qausain Faisal Mufti submitted the minister’s third medical report and pleaded the judge to grant his client exemption from appearance.
According to the medical reports, the doctor has specifically barred Dar from travelling as one of his arteries is not functioning properly and the minister will have another medical checkup on Nov 29.
In his arguments, Mufti said that there are no conflicting statements in the report and NAB has yet to verify the previous two medical reports as earlier directed by the court.
The counsel also requested the court that for further proceedings a legal representative (pleader) should be appointed on the minister’s behalf.
However, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Imran Shafique opposed the plea and requested the court to begin the procedure of declaring Dar a proclaimed offender due to his persistent absence.
He said no expertise and qualification of the doctor concerned have been mentioned in the report and no material upon which the doctor relied has been attached with the report either “and the report doesn’t contain a declaration of truth”.
He requested the court to dismiss the application and initiate proceedings under section 87 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
NAB has also recommended placing the name of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on the no-fly list.
The NAB had filed a graft reference against the minister for possessing assets disproportionate to his declared sources of income.
The accountability court on Nov 8 had dismissed Dar’s plea seeking exemption from personal appearance and ordered his guarantor to appear in person and ensure that Dar also appears before the court at the next hearing in connection with the graft case against him.
The court had also upheld the bailable arrest warrants previously issued against Dar and doubled the surety ordered against the warrants from Rs1 million to 2m.
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