Another accused offers to turn approver against Zardari, Talpur


–IHC extends bail of Zardari siblings till May 15


ISLAMABAD: A third suspect offered to become an approver in the money laundering and fake bank accounts case against Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur as they appeared before an accountability court here on Monday.

Accountability Court II Judge Arshad Malik was hearing the long-running money laundering and fake bank accounts case, which was transferred from a banking court in Karachi upon the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) appeal.

During the hearing, an accused named Sher Muhammad requested the court that he be allowed to testify as a witness. At this, the NAB prosecutor told the court that the accused’s application had been received by the bureau and that it was reviewing it.

The accused is the third suspect to have offered to testify as a witness, after two women during a hearing dated April 8 also offered to become approvers in the case.

The court then extended the interim bail of Zardari and his sister Talpur till May 9 in the money laundering and fake bank accounts case.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court on Monday extended the pre-arrest interim bail of Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur till May 15.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Aamir Farooq and Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani heard the petitions of the PPP leaders whose pre-arrest bails were to expire on Monday.

To a question, a NAB prosecutor informed the court that the bureau’s chairman had issued arrest warrants for Zardari only in the Park Lane case.

The bench directed NAB to submit a written reply, explaining how many inquiries has the bureau been carrying out against the former president.

The FIA is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and Talpur. Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested in July last year in connection with the probe.

The former president’s other close aide and Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed a close aide and Omni Group chairman and his son, Abdul Ghani, were arrested by FIA in August 2018.

Over 20 ‘benami’ accounts at some private banks were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made, according to sources.

The amount, according to FIA sources, is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions and bribes.

Addressing reporters outside the accountability court, Zardari took a jibe at NAB, stating that NAB and economy cannot work together.

“The truth is either NAB will work or the economy as both cannot work together,” he stated.

On the question of the current government completing its tenure of five years, the former president replied with a smile “God forbid”.

On the issue of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s health, he prayed that may Allah give him complete health. “May Allah grant everyone health, and if he needs to be, he will go, where else he will go,” said Zardari.