–Almost two years on, NAB fails to file reference against PM’s close friend for owning off-shore companies
–Bukhari family allegedly laundered wealth to UK after FIA registered ‘human smuggling’ case against it
ISLAMABAD: Amid claims of across-the-board accountability and holding the opposition lawmakers answerable for their ‘disproportionate assets’, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has failed to bring cases against cabinet members, especially Zulfi Bukhari for allegedly owning off-shore companies and involvement in money laundering, to a logical end.
In 2016, Panama Papers revealed that Zulfi, and his sisters Masouma and Sakina were the owners of K-Factor Limited, Bradbury Resources Limited, Baytek Limited off-shore companies based in the Virgin Islands.
Subsequently, NAB started an inquiry and sought a money trail for properties and businesses in the UK and Pakistan from the Bukharis. The bureau also questioned some “suspicious transactions amounting to millions of pounds in the two UK companies of Zulfi Bukhari”. However, Zulfi resigned from the companies within six months of the inquiry.
‘BUKHARI FAMILY GOT RICH BY SMUGGLING PEOPLE’:
Zulfi Bukhari’s father and uncle were involved in human smuggling of Pakistanis to Libya through Al-Murtaza Associates, through which they accumulated their vast fortunes, claimed Brig (r) AI Tirmzi in a book titled ‘Profiles of Intelligence’.
The smuggling ring came to the fore after some Pakistanis mysteriously died in Libya, prompting an inquiry by the state.
After the killing of the Pakistanis, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Passport Cell in Rawalpindi registered a human smuggling case — FIR No. 161/82 dated 3/11/1982 under sections 420, 468,471, 277 MLO and Military Court No 32 of Rawalpindi in 1984– and issued orders for confiscation of movable and immovable property of Zulfi Bukhari’s father, Syed Wajid Hussain Bukhari and uncle Syed Manzoor Hussain Bukhari.
However, the Bukhari family, led by Wajid Bukhari, transferred the money to the UK and bought expensive properties in London in 1981-1984. Similarly, Wajid formed at least two companies, Masouma Investment Company Limited and Sakina Investment Limited, with the ‘ill-gotten’ wealth.
In spite of all these allegations, NAB has failed to act against Zulfi even after the passage of 21 months in violation of its standard operating procedures.
Usually, NAB is expected to complete inquiry and investigations within nine months and file a reference before a court within 10 months as per the revised SOPs. Zulfi was also allowed to leave the country in Oct last year even though his name was on the ECL at the time.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Zulfi rejected the money laundering charges against his family. “I have provided the money trail to NAB eight months ago,” he added.
The NAB spokesperson remained unreachable despite several attempts. Pakistan Today also sent a questionnaire to the official on WhatsApp but failed to get any response by the time this report was compiled.