Monday Jan 04 2021
Web Desk

Current NAB leaderships distances itself from Broadsheet LLC saga

Web Desk
  • NAB shares history of Broadsheet case
  • Anti-corruption watchdog distances from Broadsheet case
  • NAB says hiring of law firm was done in consultation with PM

ISLAMABAD: Distancing itself from the Broadsheet LLC saga, the current leadership of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has emphasised that the law firm hired to defend the case was done on directives of former prime minister, Attorney General Office and the ministry of law. 

A statement issued by the anti-graft watchdog here on Monday said the Government of Pakistan signed an agreement, through NAB, with the London firm to identify "foreign assets" of accused persons on June 20, 2000 after then president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf green-lighted it.

The bureau explained that the agreement had been terminated in 2003 on “on account of dismal performance”. Following which, Broadsheet LLC filed arbitration case in the year 2006 and again in 2012. 

Read more: UK court dismisses Broadsheet's plea seeking custody of Avenfield flats

As per NAB, the Attorney General for Pakistan, through the appointment of UK based law firm, vehemently defended Pakistan's stance in said arbitration before the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London."

“The foreign legal team was hired by the Attorney General for Pakistan with the approval of the Ministry of Law & Justice and the then Prime Minister of Pakistan,” said the anti-corruption watchdog.

NAB “clarified” that the agreement with Broadsheet LLC was made in 2000 and the liability award passed on August 1, 2016, by Chartered Institute of Arbitrator in London Pakistan.

“The quantum/cost of said award for US$ 27,226,590/- was passed in 2018 against a claim of US$ 550 Million,” said NAB. It explained that the award was challenged before the High Court of Justice in London but no relief was given. 

Read more: Pakistan readies to pay $27m to Broadsheet after London accounts frozen

“The whole matter to defend the Arbitration and subsequent developments were meaningfully shared and supported by the Office of the Attorney General for Pakistan and Ministry of Law & Justice,” said NAB. 

It stressed that the current NAB management was neither part of the “execution of the agreement with Broadsheet nor in initiation of the arbitration proceedings”.

Pakistan pays Rs4.59 bn to British firm for lost case

NAB has been under fire after Pakistan was forced to pay $28.706 million (Rs4.59 billion) to the British firm Broadsheet LLC after losing the long-running litigation at the London High Court.

The amount was transferred from the Pakistan High Commission (PHC) on behalf of NAB to the assets recovery firm — 17 years after it was hired to trace alleged foreign assets of dozens of Pakistanis which it failed to find any.

The London High Court’s Financial Division had issued on December 17 a Final Third Party Order for payment to NAB’s former client Broadsheet by December 30 — drawing curtains on a case that has cost Pakistani taxpayers billions of rupees.

Read more: Musharraf-era NAB hired offshore company to track assets of 200 generals, tycoons, bureaucrats

Broadsheet was hired by NAB during Pervez Musharraf’s government in 2003 to trace assets in the UK and USA of more than 200 Pakistanis (called ‘targets’ in the contract) including generals, politicians, businessmen — Benazir Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif as the chief targets.

The firm didn’t recover a single asset of any target anywhere in the world but its litigation against NAB started over the broken contract when the anti-graft watchdog ended its contract in violation of the terms and conditions.