Court reissues NBWs for fleeing suspects in Rs3.2bn graft case

Our Correspondent
November 29, 2022

An accountability court on Monday reissued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of 43 absconding suspects in a case pertaining to money laundering and embezzlement of Rs3.2 billion pension...

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An accountability court on Monday reissued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of 43 absconding suspects in a case pertaining to money laundering and embezzlement of Rs3.2 billion pension funds.

Over 80 people, including officials of the government and a private bank, have been booked by the National Accountability Bureau for misappropriation and money laundering of Rs3.2 billion from government funds in the District Accounts Office (DAO) Hyderabad through fake pension bills and fake agriculture refund vouchers, causing losses to the national exchequer.

Some 27 of the accused are in judicial custody while 14 are out on bail. However, 43 suspects have been named absconders for evading their arrest by the bureau. Judge Suresh Kumar directed the investigating officer to arrest and produce the absconders before the court at the next hearing slated for December 14.

On November 14, the accountability court had dismissed four applications challenging its jurisdiction to hear the reference in the wake of the recent amendments to the accountability law. In May, NAB had filed the reference against 84 suspects, stating that as many as 5,433 pension bills and 130 refund bills were recovered during the search of former additional district accounts officer Mushtaq Ahmed Sheikh.

The investigation revealed that these pension bills having fake pension pay order numbers were deposited in the bank accounts of the persons other than the names mentioned on the vouchers and 137 bank accounts of 59 individuals, most of which belonged to accused Dawach and his family members and friends.

The 137 accounts were operated at three branches of a private bank between 2010 and 2017, the bureau said, adding the total value of these 1,756 fake pension bills/vouchers was Rs1.165 billion, which were not processed in accordance with the Accounting Policies and Procedures Manual issued by the government.

A banking analysis further revealed that another amount of Rs1.8 billion was also credited from the government funds and transferred to the accounts of private persons. The State Bank of Pakistan debited the Sindh government’s account and transferred the funds to the relevant bank branch, officials of which credited these pension funds into the accounts of private unrelated/unauthorised persons. The accounts were opened in active connivance with bank officials.

NAB had found all the 84 suspects to be involved in embezzling Rs3.2 billion from the pension accounts in the DAO Hyderabad through fake pension vouchers and fake agriculture refund vouchers, causing losses to the national exchequer. Therefore, they allegedly committed an offence punishable under the provisions of the NAO, 1999, and the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010.



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