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Thursday Jan 14 2021
Web Desk

Public Accounts Committee orders full probe into Broadsheet scandal

Web Desk

  • Public Accounts Committee said Thursday that it will launch full probe into Broadsheet LLC scandal
  • PAC chairman says it recovered Rs500 billion in two years which is more than NAB could collect
  • Says outcomes of the inquiry will be presented before PM Imran Khan

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday announced to launch a full probe into the Broadsheet LLC scandal.

In this regard, PAC's Chairman Rana Tanveer Hussain said that within two years, the Public Accounts Committee recovered more than Rs500 billion, more than what the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) could collect. 

However, despite the PAC's performance, whenever it issues a production order for a member, it is never implemented, Hussain added.

In response, PML-N leader and former National Assembly speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said that NA speakers cannot stop the production orders issued by any committee's chairman.

Taking notice of the Broadsheet LLC scandal, the PAC has ordered the NAB as well as the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) to submit a report detailing when and why were the services of Broadsheet LLC sought by January 19.

The PAC also directed NAB and AGP to declare what sort of an agreement was signed with the company and how much was paid to it.

Meanwhile, Hussain also rejected the allegations levelled against the PAC in the cabinet meeting, adding that he would write a letter to the cabinet's secretary regarding the matter.

Hussain further said that the committee will investigate who cancelled the contract with Broadsheet LLC, adding that the PAC will duly inform Prime Minister Imran Khan of the probe's outcomes.

Earlier, PAC members had registered a protest against the allegations hurled at them in the federal cabinet meeting and had demanded an inquiry. The chairman of the committee said that when the audit of the present government started, all the ministers had started making a noise. He reiterated that the PAC's recovered Rs500 billion but [the matter was sidelined].

Read more: Broadsheet again exposed Pakistan ruling elite's corruption: PM Imran Khan

According to sources, the government's representative and committee member Aamir Dogar said that he was present at the cabinet meeting and he would tell what happened there in a recorded statement. 

"Questions are being raised about the performance and credibility of the PAC," Dogar said. "During the meeting, it was also said that the PAC is transgressing its powers."

'NAB owes millions to Broadsheet LLC'

Following a London High Court order earlier this month, the Government of Pakistan paid $29 million to Broadsheet LLC but the litigation is far from over as the firm is now seeking millions more from the National Accountability Bureau.

An agent of the firm told that the bureau owes $3 million in legal costs. Confirming a payment worth $28,706,533.34 (28.7 million) by the Pakistani government to Broadsheet LLC liquidator's account as per the court ruling on account of $22 million judgment and $6 million initial legal costs, the agent said NAB still owes $3 million legal costs and it is costing the Pakistani government $150,000 per month at a statutory interest rate of $5000 per day.

"We have an enforcement cost order from the court. The $5000 per day interest is statutory, not punitive," he added. "NAB is dragging its feet to pay this amount and the interest amount is accumulating."

This means that the amount owed increases every day.

Kaveh Mousavi, a former Oxford University academic and ex-owner of the firm, remained unavailable for comment. But an agent from the firm's liquidation department said that both NAB and its legal team in London were responsible for the loss of millions of dollars to the national exchequer.

Read more: Broadsheet LLC seeks millions more from NAB after getting $28.7 million