Friday, June 09, 2023

NAB grills PTI chief for 4 hours in NCA case

National Accountability Bureau. — Reuters
National Accountability Bureau. — Reuters 

  • Khan says he had no direct involvement in the process.
  • He says Akbar should be summoned for further probe.
  • NAB panel issues questionnaire to PTI chief.

ISLAMABAD: A National Accountability Bureau (NAB) panel interrogated Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for four hours Thursday regarding the infamous £190 million National Crime Agency (NCA) UK settlement case, The News reported.

The panel issued a questionnaire, seeking replies supported by documentary evidence.

Sources said that the panel asked a range of questions related to the case, including inquiries about money transfers, cabinet clearance, land allocation for the Al-Qadir Trust and a record of donations.

Additionally, they inquired about the confidentiality of the summary and its approval by the cabinet without discussion.

According to the sources, the PTI chief told NAB that the entire process involving the NCA was overseen by his former aide on accountability Shahzad Akbar.

Khan said he had no direct involvement in the process, as he received verbal briefings.

The PTI chief said Akbar should be summoned from London for further investigation.

The sources quoted him as saying that the property tycoon was spiritually motivated by the vision of the Al-Qadir University Trust and had donated the land for its establishment.

Originally scheduled for June 7, the NAB had initially summoned both Khan and his wife, Bushra Bibi, but they requested a postponement.

The NAB team rescheduled the summoning of the PTI head for June 8, while Bushra Bibi received a summons for June 13.

The case

The PTI chairman is facing charges of corruption of billions of rupees in the case involving a property tycoon.

Khan — along with his wife Bushra Bibi and other PTI leaders — is facing a NAB inquiry related to a settlement between the PTI government and the property tycoon, which reportedly caused a loss of 190 million pounds to the national exchequer.

As per the charges, Khan and other accused allegedly adjusted Rs50 billion — 190 million pounds at the time — sent by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) to the Pakistani government as part of the agreement with the property tycoon.

They are also accused of getting undue benefit in the form of over 458 kanals of land at Mouza Bakrala, Sohawa, to establish Al Qadir University.

During the PTI government, United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) seized assets worth 190 million pounds from the property tycoon in Britain.

The agency said the assets would be passed to the government of Pakistan and the settlement with the Pakistani property tycoon was “a civil matter, and does not represent a finding of guilt”.

Subsequently, then-prime minister Khan get approval of the settlement with the UK crime agency from his cabinet on December 3, 2019, without disclosing the details of the confidential agreement.

It was decided that the money would be submitted to the Supreme Court on behalf of the tycoon.

Subsequently, the Al-Qadir Trust was established in Islamabad a few weeks after the PTI-led government approved the agreement with the property tycoon.

PTI leaders Zulfi Bukhari, Babar Awan, Bushra Bibi, and her close friend Farah Khan were appointed as members of the trust.

Two to three months after the cabinet’s approval, the property tycoon transferred 458 canals of land to Bukhari, a close aide of the PTI chief, which he later transferred to the trust.

Later, Bukhari and Awan opted out as the trustees. That trust is now registered in the name of Khan, Bushra Bibi and Farah.

NAB officials were earlier probing the alleged misuse of powers in the process of recovery of “dirty money” received from the UK crime agency.

Following the emergence of "irrefutable evidence" in the case, the inquiry was converted into an investigation.

According to the NAB officials, Khan and his wife obtained land worth billions of rupees from the property tycoon, to build an educational institute, in return for striking a deal to give legal cover to the property tycoon’s black money received from the UK crime agency.