Judge reserves verdict on acquittal of NBP chief in Dar illegal assets case | Pakistan Today

Judge reserves verdict on acquittal of NBP chief in Dar illegal assets case

ISLAMABAD: The hearing of the illegal assets reference against former finance minister Ishaq Dar was adjourned till June 27, as the judge reserved the verdict over the acquittal of a co-accused, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President Saeed Ahmed for a later date on Wednesday.

Judge Muhammad Bashir was hearing the case, in which nominated accused, National Bank President Saeed Ahmed, Naeem Mehmood and Mansoor Raza of Hajveri Trust appeared before the court. Qazi Misbah, the counsel of Naeem Mehmood and Mansoor Raza cross-examined defence witness Ishtaiq Ali. The witness said he had presented relevant record to the investigating officer of National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The court said that the decision reserved over the acquittal of Saeed Ahmed will be announced later and adjourned the hearing till June 27.

Earlier on June 13, hearing of reference against Dar was adjourned till June 20 in the accountability court with the decision over the acquittal of Saeed Ahmed being reserved.

On June 6, Muhammad Azeem was cross-examined by the defence counsel, Qazi Misbah, the record of transactions was presented by the witness in the court. On the occasion, National Bank President Saeed Ahmed Khan appealed to the court to grant him leave, as the doctor had advised him to take rest due to deteriorated health.  The court accepted the plea later.

On May 30, hearing of assets beyond means reference against former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was adjourned until June 6.

Qazi Misbah completed his cross-examination from the defence witness Masood Al Ghani, who is associated with a private bank.

Ghani said in his statement that Rs 25 lacs were transferred from Ishaq Dar’s account of Bank Alfalah Gulberg Branch.

During the hearing, counsel of Saeed Ahmed appealed the court to adjourn the hearing arguing he wanted to perform Umrah.

“How can you leave at this point, when the trial is underway,” Judge Muhammad Bashir replied.

According to a local media report, NAB’s allegations contradict its own forensic report that states that forged signatures had been used to access the bank accounts.

A forensic examination of the documents was submitted to NAB Headquarters in 2017 by the NAB Deputy Director Muhammad Naseem. Earlier, NAB Special Prosecutor Imran Shafeeq stated that Dar and Ahmed were working together in Hajveri Modaraba Management (Pvt) Ltd Company and suggested that Ahmed, along with the other co-accused might have assisted and abetted the primary accused in mounting illegal assets. It further alleged that seven bank accounts were opened in the name of Saeed Ahmad in the years 1997, 1998 and 1999 which were closed in 1999, 2000 and 2002 respectively.

The prosecutor claimed that millions of rupees were transacted into foreign currency accounts, which were operated from 1997 to 2006. It needs to be observed that the alleged fake accounts were opened in 1997 and 1998, at least two years after his end of directorship when Saeed was living abroad and was having no say or influence in the company as the director. Also, NAB’s allegations are in contradiction with its own forensic report that says that signatures of applicant do not tally and forged signatures were used to open these bank accounts.

Dar, a close aide of Pakistan Muslim League-N chief 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.

Dar was re-elected to the Senate of Pakistan earlier this year.

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