ISLAMABAD: Real Estate tycoon Malik Raiz, one of the accused in a case of alleged graft relating to him and the Chief Justice’s son, Dr Arsalan Ifthikar, is being treated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as a complainant in the case, instead of an accused person.
Indeed, in a recent letter, NAB has asked Riaz to appear before the Joint Investigation team (JIT) with complete records on Monday (July 16) despite clear orders by the Supreme Court directing the Attorney General to set the machinery of the state in motion so that all those who may have committed any illegal acts, including Malik Riaz, were pursued and brought to the book with the full force and vigour of the law.
However, NAB has sent a letter to Riaz, a copy of which is available with ‘The News’, reading which it becomes clear that the Bureau, rather than treating him as an accused, is considering him a complainant in the case. There is one giveaway sentence in the letter which betrays that Riaz is being treated as a complainant: “The inquiry will determine the veracity of the allegations leveled by Malik Riaz Hussain against Dr Arsalan Ifthikar.”
According to the letter, the attendance of Riaz has been sought in an inquiry under section 19, reads with section 27, of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999.Section 19 of the National Accountability Ordinance reads: “The chairman NAB or any authorised officer may call for information from any person during inquiry/investigation in connection with the provisions of the Ordinance.”
Section 27 of the NAO 1999 relates to powers to seek assistance and reads: “The Chairman, NAB or person authorised by him to seek full and complete assistance from any department, organization or office.”
NAB has sent a letter No. 1021/1/Bank-M-102/NAB, dated July 12, 2012, to Malik Riaz at his residence in Islamabad and through it asked him to appear at NAB headquarters on Monday evening with all original documents and other evidence.
According to the text of the letter, “Whereas it was necessary and appropriate to initiate proceedings under the provisions of National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 and whereas an inquiry has been authorised to ascertain the factual position with regard to the subject allegations, and whereas your attendance before the Joint Inquiry Team is required as you are acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case. Now therefore, you are directed to appear before the Joint Inquiry Team (JIT) along with all original documentary and other evidence at National Accountability Bureau Headquarters.”
Interestingly, NAB has not yet touched another accused, Salman Ali Khan, the son-in-law of Riaz as he has neither been approached by the NAB nor has it investigated him on any count.
When contacted, NAB Spokesman Zafar Iqbal said that JIT had summoned Malik Riaz Hussain to record his statement on Monday. The JIT would interview Malik Riaz on the details of his allegations. He said that the JIT had obtained relevant records from various agencies on the Arsalan Iftikhar case and more evidence was expected to be received in the next two days. “Information is being collected under the provisions of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999. Notices under section 19 have also been issued to different banks and financial institutions for obtaining information and record on transactions and accounts respecting the beneficiaries,” he added.
He said that the JIT might also examine the case from a money laundering perspective as well. “According to section 20, the suspicious financial transactions fall within the domain of NAB and make it mandatory for the banks to report such transactions,” he said.
He said the JIT had the reasons to suspect the transactions having dimension necessitating the probe of bank accounts in UAE, UK and offshore banking systems. “The JIT has also finalised a procedure for recording statements of persons privy to the facts and circumstances of the case who are either not residents of Pakistan or are foreign nationals,’ he added.