ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal on Monday decided to transfer fake accounts case against Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah to the anti-graft body’s office in Rawalpindi.
Thereby, references pertaining to the case will be lodged in the accountability courts in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. According to sources, NAB Rawalpindi’s Director General Irfan Naeem Mangi, who was a member of the joint investigation team (JIT) formed to probe into Panama Papers leak case against former premier Nawaz Sharif, will be conducting investigations into the case.
The bureau will lodge reference against Zardari, his sister Talpur, Murad, real estate tycoon Malik Riaz and other influential people after the investigations are concluded. The JIT in its report had accused 172 people of having fake bank accounts and indulging in money laundering, following which their names were placed on the Exit Control List (ECL). However, Bilawal and Murad Ali Shah’s names have been removed from the no-fly list after the Supreme Court’s (SC) orders. According to the SC’s orders, over 170 accused, including Asif Zardari, Faryal Talpur and Malik Riaz, will continue to remain on the ECL.
THE MONEY LAUNDERING CASE AGAINST ZARDARI:
On December 24, the 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 had 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 scrutinised, 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 channelled 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.