Tuesday Jan 19, 2021
ISLAMABAD: A ministerial committee, constituted by Prime Minister Imran Khan to probe the scandal emerging out of the Broadsheet LLC saga, has been tasked to present its findings in 45 days.
This was revealed by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz, who also heads the ministerial committee, while addressing a press conference on Tuesday in Islamabad. He was flanked by committee members, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari.
The federal ministers called a press briefing following the weekly meeting of the federal cabinet. Sources told Geo News that PM Imran Khan had directed the three-member ministerial committee to make public facts in the scandal involving the London-based asset recovery fund and the National Accountability Bureau.
Shibli Faraz said once the investigation is completed, the government will take action against those responsible. “Accountability cannot be one-sided. Nor is it a choice.”
The information minister said the government will probe all names that surfaced in the London High Court judgment. “Corruption investigations are underway against PPP leadership,” he added.
Fawad Chaudhry said Broadsheet LLC was responsible for tracing assets owned by politicians in the United States, United Kingdom and Asian countries. He said initially the accountability bureau had given a list of 200 individuals that needed to be probed. “The tale of corruption in Pakistan is incomplete without Ishaq Dar. He was obviously among the 200 individuals.”
Dar’s name was later removed as Broadsheet was told that he was cooperating with NAB, he added. “Assets worth $114 million owned by the Sharif family have been traced,” he said, adding that the Sharif family owned properties in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UK and the United Arab Emirates.
Dr Mazari said if Maryam Nawaz reads the judgments in Broadsheet LLC saga she would hang her head in shame. “She [Maryam] is looking for a third NRO.”
The human rights minister said TORs of the committee have been finalized for the investagion in the scandal.
PM Imran Khan took notice of the scandal after court documents revealed that the accountability bureau made a deliberate decision to disregard financial damages that may be caused to Broadsheet LLC by entering into a settlement with an unauthorised individual and paid around $1.5 million to a fake firm.
The arbitration court that heard the case - Broadsheet LLC vs. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the National Accountability Bureau - was chaired by Sir Anthony Evans. The court's ruling titled Part Final Award (Liability issues) was handed down in August 2016 under the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Case No. 12912001.
The case details the whole saga from establishing NAB to signing and then three years later rescinding the agreement between the NAB and Broadsheet LLC, breach of the contract, illegal payments from Pakistan to wrong entities; and all that led the court to ascertain that NAB was involved in intentional wrongdoings.
The anti-graft body and Broadsheet had signed the agreement in June 2000, which was breached by Pakistan in October 2003.
The judgment documents reveal what the arbitration court had concluded that the claimant [Broadsheet LLC] was entitled to recover damages from the respondents [the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the National Accountability Bureau] for the "tort of conspiring to cause unlawful economic loss to the Claimant by entering into the Settlement Agreement dated 20 May 2008 with Mr. James and companies controlled by him and/or in making payments to him or them thereunder."