Dar assets reference: Court reserves decision on NBP president’s acquittal petition


ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Wednesday reserved its decision on a petition lodged by the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President Saeed Ahmed, seeking his acquittal in a reference regarding the assets of former finance minister Ishaq Dar.

The NBP president is one of the co-accused in the reference filed against Dar for possessing assets beyond his known sources of income and has been charged with opening up bank accounts allegedly used for money laundering by the former finance minister.

As the accountability court judge, Justice Muhammad Bashir led the proceedings, Ahmed’s counsel Advocate Hashmat Habib said that his client should not be charged even if the statements of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) are taken to be correct.

NBP president’s counsel added that NAB laws do not apply to the accusations levelled against his client. However, NAB’s special prosecutor Imran Shafiq arguments responded that he still has to present 55 to 56 witnesses to present his case.

The NAB prosecutor also said that the court should give time for them to provide evidence.

He said that it was not possible for such a huge amount to be transferred into the account of a public office holder.

“Accused required a qualified person to bring the amount to Pakistan and needed someone whose account the money could be transferred to without raising suspicion,” Shafiq continued.

He alleged, “Ahmed advised the accused in opening accounts to transfer the money into.”

“Now he can’t say that he had no knowledge regarding the accounts that were opened,” the special prosecutor further said.

“Ahmed was the deputy governor of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) when transactions worth hundreds of thousands of dollars were made from Dar’s account but he took no action,” Shafiq further claimed.

He also alleged, “Ahmed was given high posts by Dar.”

The special NAB prosecutor added that the former finance minister also submitted nomination papers for Senate elections that were held in March despite being declared a proclaimed offen­der in the case by the same court.

“During the time of the Senate elections, another bank account was opened for Dar in NBP. Had this account not opened, Dar would not have been able to take part in Senate elections as the court had ordered to freeze his assets,” Shafiq maintained.

Further, during the hearing, the statement of prosecution witness and National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) General Manager Ghazali Zahid was recorded.

The hearing of the case has been adjourned till June 20.