Tuesday, May 16, 2023
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Rawalpindi chapter has summoned former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in connection with an investigation into the Al-Qadir Trust case on May 18 (Thursday).
Last week, courts provided "blanket relief" to the PTI chief following his arrest by NAB in the case with both the Supreme Court declaring his custody by the anti-corruption body "illegal".
In a notice on Tuesday, the anti-graft body sought details of the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) 2019 probe into assets worth £190 million from the ousted premier.
Moreover, NAB has directed Khan to bring along details regarding the NCA investigation and all documents related to the Al-Qadir University including land papers, trust deeds and bank statements.
The anti-corruption watchdog also warned the PTI chief of legal action in case of non-compliance with the summon.
The sources close to the probe, when speaking with The News, said the British government had uncovered a whopping £140 million in an account owned by an individual, who is a renowned Pakistani real estate tycoon's son, and his wife from 2018 to 2019.
Meanwhile, the NCA swiftly froze the funds, suspecting the criminal origins of the proceeds.
Surprisingly, neither the individual nor his wife challenged the account freeze. Following proper legal procedures, the UK then decided to return the laundered funds to Pakistan's government in 2019. This decision was announced through a joint press release issued by the Assets Recovery Unit (ARU) and the NCA.
The case subsequently made its way to Pakistan’s federal cabinet on December 3, 2019, where it was presented by then special assistant to the prime minister (SAPM), Mirza Shahzad Akbar, in a sealed envelope.
The purpose of the presentation was to discuss the return of the funds, which would be channelled into an account overseen by the registrar of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
This particular account was associated with the recovery of a staggering Rs460 billion from the same property tycoon, in connection with fines imposed on a housing scheme in Karachi.
“Khan approved the settlement without allowing his cabinet members to read it,” a source familiar with the investigation told The News.
Investigations have revealed that as part of an agreement to return the laundered money, the property tycoon offered a substantial compensation package. This included the transfer of 458 Kanal, 4 Marla and 58 square feet of land in Jhelum, alongside cash amounting to Rs285 million, which was destined for the Al-Qadir Trust.
The trustees of Al-Qadir Trust included then-prime minister Khan, his wife Bushra Bibi and his senior advisers Zulfiqar Bukhari and Babar Awan. However, it is worth noting that Awan and Bukhari's positions were subsequently revoked on April 22, 2020.