–NAB submits first progress report to SC in the case
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Friday filed a review petition in the Supreme Court regarding its January 7, 2019, order — praying to review it and direct removal of his name from the joint investigation team (JIT) report.
The petition filed by Advocate Khalid Jawed Khan under Article 188 of the constitution further stated that the PPP chief’s name may also be expunged from any other investigation being conducted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the National Accountancy Bureau (NAB) or others.
It said that the petitioner was neither issued any notice or summon, nor provided an opportunity of hearing before the order was passed by the apex court. “Certain observations were made and directions issued while omitting to record the specific verbal directions given by the honourable court during proceedings to expunge the name of the applicant,” the petition added.
The JIT had acknowledged that Bilawal’s name was mentioned by mistake and that it did not possess sufficient evidence against the PPP leader.
NAB SUBMITS PROGRESS REPORT:
The NAB also submitted its first investigation report to the apex court regarding the case.
The anti-graft body is collecting further evidence and has requested relevant departments to submit records so it can be determined when a reference should be filed.
PM’s Special Assistant on Accountability Shahzad Akbar had previously said that the anti-graft body will start an investigation in the case rather than an inquiry. He explained that this would be done on the basis of inquiry conducted by the apex court and the JIT.
On December 24, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), formed on the apex court’s orders to probe into the alleged money-laundering case, presented its 128-page final report to the court which included recommendations for filing 16 NAB references.
The report had mentioned that 29 fake accounts were identified by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) which laundered Rs42 billion. However, the team further discovered 11,500 bank accounts of 924 account holders, 59 Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) and 24,500 Cash Transactions Reports (CTRs).
All of these details were scrutinized, besides the loan profile of 924 individuals.
The report further stated that the fake accounts were opened through the Omni Group. However the accounts had been engaged with direct transactions with the Zardari Group, Bahria Town, Sindh Government departments and certain contractors while the ultimate beneficiary of money laundering was Zardari’s family.
Later, the court had ordered Zardari to submit his reply by December 31, however, during the previous hearing extended his and his sister’s interim bail till January 7.
On September 6, the SC had formed a JIT to probe into alleged mega money laundering of Rs42 billion channeled through fake bank accounts in three banks.
Besides the Zardari family, several prominent individuals including former Summit Bank president Hussain Lawai and Omni Group president Anwar Majeed, have been accused in the case.
Property tycoon Malik Riaz, his son-in-law Zain, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari have been also included in the inquiry.