Tuesday Dec 01 2020

PPP's Agha Siraj Durrani indicted in assets beyond means case

An accountability court will start the speaker's trial on December 22. Photo: file

KARACHI: An accountability court in Karachi indicted Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani and 18 others in a case pertaining to owning assets beyond known means of income, The News reported on Tuesday.

During the hearing, the accused denied all charges. The accountability court-III has issued a notice to the prosecution, directing them to present witnesses as the trial begins December 22. 

The PPP leader was arrested in February last year by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in an investigation pertaining to alleged movable and immovable assets beyond his known sources of income, making 352 illegal appointments, embezzlement of public funds in the construction of the MPA Hostel and the new Sindh Assembly building, as well as the appointment of project directors for these schemes.

Read more: Bigwigs in Sindh Assembly turn out to be millionaires

The case

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed a reference against the PPP leader, his family members and others for allegedly accumulating assets worth Rs1.6 billion through illegal means.

The anti-graft watchdog claims Durrani was unable to account for a difference of Rs1,610,669,528 between his declared income from 1985 to 2018, and assets including properties and vehicles.

The bureau's report said Durrani misrepresented the value of 27 declared and undeclared assets including properties and investments. NAB said the assets were valued at Rs479.4 million but the PPP leader showed them to be worth Rs151.6 million.

Read more: Arrest warrants issued for Sindh Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani’s family

NAB said Durrani is the beneficiary of seven Benami properties worth over Rs1 billion - six of which are in Defence Housing Authority (DHA), and one in Malir. These properties were bought in the name of his workers.

The bureau said it derived details from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). It said the Durrani family's total declared income was Rs110.4 million whereas he declared it to be Rs82 million through salary, agriculture, business, rentals, bank accounts and fishpond.

The report said Durrani accumulated assets and pecuniary resources through illegal means and in connivance with others named in the reference after he was first appointed local bodies minister then the speaker.

NAB said the named persons had committed an offence of corruption as defined in sections 9(a)(iii)(iv)(v)(xii) and 10 of the National Accountability Ordinance.