Suspect in fake accounts case sent to jail after refusing plea bargain deal


ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Wednesday sent a man — who is nominated in a case pertaining to money laundering — to jail until September 20 on judicial remand after he withdrew his request to enter a plea bargain with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

During a hearing in an accountability court today, Khursheed Anwar Jamali, who had been arrested by NAB over allegations of financial misappropriation and money laundering in May this year, said that he could not pay the amount that was being demanded by the anti-corruption watchdog.

His case is linked to the larger money laundering and fake accounts case that involves former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, former Summit Bank chairman Hussain Lawai and other prominent figures.

The NAB prosecutor told the court today that Jamali had agreed to deposit Rs57 million, but the required amount in the plea bargain deal was north of Rs100m.

In a separate hearing of another case pertaining to the same matter, the court recorded a statement of Nadeem Altaf, an executive vice president of Sindh Bank who was nominated in the case but had requested permission to become an approver against the accused persons. In his statement today, Altaf said that he was “forced to approve loans”.

He said that he had met Lawai in 2016 along with Bilal Sheikh — another suspect. In that meeting, a plan to benefit Summit Bank and its former chairman was drawn up, Altaf alleged. According to Altaf, loans were provided illegally to Lawai’s front companies by Sindh Bank. The money was then deposited in a private bank.

Altaf further said that even though Lawai’s companies failed to pay back the borrowed money, no steps were taken to declare that they had defaulted and they were instead provided with more loans by the Sindh Bank. He added that Sheikh, former president and current director of Sindh Bank, and Tariq Ehsan, the incumbent president, had also been involved in the scheme.

The court accepted Altaf’s request to become approver and ordered his release. He had been taken into custody by NAB in July.