–Saad Rafique accuses PTI govt of imposing civil dictatorship in country
LAHORE: An accountability court on Saturday extended the physical remand of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Salman Rafique for 15 days in connection to the Paragon House Society scam.
The Rafique brothers, who are currently in the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) custody, appeared before the court amid tight security with the anti-graft body seeking a 15-day extension in their remand till January 5, 2019.
Moreover, Saad was brought to Lahore from Islamabad where he was on a transit remand till Thursday to attend the National Assembly session.
As the hearing went underway, NAB’s Special Prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua presented his arguments and said that “during the 10-day initial remand, the bureau probed the funds allegedly received by the siblings from Saadain Associates and Executive Builders”.
He further said that “a certain Farhan Ali was handling the accounts of Executive Builders and Paragon, alleging that Rs6.2 million had been transferred directly into Saad’s account from Paragon’s”.
Moreover, the NAB’s investigation officer said, “Under this project, commercial plots worth Rs2 billion were illegally sold. While patwaris have told that 40 kanals of government land were also sold. We have to record the statements of those who bought this land.”
He further said, “We are in contact with around 100 affected people including Haji Rafique, who, in his statement said that he owns 200 kanals of land in Paragon City and he was not given a single penny.”
In addition to that, the NAB prosecutor said, “Saad claimed that the transfer was a payment of commission but did not provide any details.”
Moreover, the Khawaja Brothers’ did not provide NAB with the details of the people “who they had provided services to” despite being asked to.
“We want to record those people’s statements but they [the Khawaja brothers] aren’t telling us anything,” the prosecutor complained.
The defence counsel, Amjad Pervez told the court that “the commission obtained by their clients from Executive Builders had been declared in the tax returns”.
“The facts told by the Khawaja brothers are being distorted,” he said.
After presenting the arguments, NAB officials further requested the court to grant a 15-day extension in the physical remand of the Rafique brothers.
Following this, the court adjourned the hearing after ordering Saad and Salman to appear before the court on January 5.
While speaking to media outside court premises, Saad said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government has imposed a civil dictatorship in the country.
“Rather than leveling baseless allegations against each other people should sit together for national progress,” he said.
On Thursday, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser issued a production order for Rafique, allowing him to travel from Lahore to attend the session in the federal capital.
Earlier this month, NAB arrested Saad and his younger brother, Khawaja Salman Rafique after the Lahore High Court (LHC) dismissed their application seeking pre-arrest bail in the Paragon Housing Society case.
NAB had launched an investigation into the alleged scam in November after a number of victims staged protests and held a press conference at the Lahore Press Club against what they termed housing society’s fraud.
Last month, in a major development, Qaiser Amin Butt, a director of the Paragon City (Pvt) Limited, became an approver against PML-N stalwart Khawaja Saad Rafique in the Paragon City scandal.
The Paragon City director recorded his confession before the NAB chief, in which he spilled the beans that real owners of the Paragon City were, in fact, Khawaja brothers, further revealing that they tricked people and deprived them of money.