LONDON: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has sent a notice to Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari (Zulfi Bukhari) — Imran Khan’s close friend and aide — to appear before it and explain facts about his offshore companies which have been used to buy dozens of expensive commercial properties in London’s expensive zone.
A NAB source sent a copy of the summons to The News and alleged that Zulfi Bukhari, who was amongst the few selected ones at Imran Khan’s third marriage to Bushra Wattoo, was in Pakistan when the summons were issued for his appearance on 27nd February but he didn’t appear before the NAB Pindi office and left for London.
“These summons were issued to Zulfi Bukhari’s residential address in Islamabad’s F-10/1 Sector in relation to known six offshore companies owned by him and disclosed in the Panama papers,” said the source, adding that Zulfi was supposed to appear before Ahmed Saeed Wazir, Deputy Director of NAB in Rawalpindi.
The NAB confirmed that it had started an inquiry “against Zulfiqar Bukhari s/o Wajid Bukhari, and others”. The NAB letter says it has “taken the continuance of an offence committed by you under the provisions of NAO, 1999. Whereas the inquiry regarding ownership/settling up of offshore companies in the BVI named in the Panama Papers has revealed that you are in possession of information/evidence whatsoever which relates to the commission of said offence”.
The NAB notice mentioned that Zulfi Bukhari owned six offshore companies which were revealed in Pakistan by The News reporter Umar Cheema last year.
The companies that Umar Cheema revealed as having been owned by Zulfi Bukhari and family are mentioned by the NAB in the summons as K-Factor Limited; Bradbury Resources; Bayteck Limited; Bayla Trading Limited; Poresim Traidng Limited; and Genstam Trading Limited.
The News reporter Murtaza Ali Shah had revealed that Zulfi Bukhari also owns Underbridge Properties Limited and Cumbria Grand Limited in BVI which have been used to buy and sell properties in London. The NAB letter doesn’t mention these properties.
Zulfi Bukhari used Bradbury Resources to sell a flat of his in Knightsbridge for £6.7 million in 2010 to an Arab royal.
Ironically, Imran Khan held many meetings at Zulfi Bukhari’s London office after Panama papers came out and condemned everyone for owning offshore companies until his own Niazi Services Limited and his aides’ companies were found. It’s understood that Zulfi Bukhari owns these offshore companies with his two sisters.
Zulfi Bukhari grew close to Imran Khan after he hired forensic firms for Imran Khan in London to investigate business details of Hasan Nawaz Sharif, son of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Although nothing actionable was found, Imran Khan has been relying on the papers given to him by Zulfi Bukhari and the same papers, it’s understood, were passed by Imran Khan on to others campaigning against Nawaz Sharif for alleged corruption.
In a previous statement, Zulfi Bukhari defended owning offshore companies stating that it was “legal and common practice for companies and businessmen like myself to establish commercial entities in different jurisdictions.”
Zulfi Bukhari’s father Wajid Bukhari was a minister in Pervez Musharraf’s cabinet and his uncle was sitting PTI MPA from Attock city. When Imran Khan got married to Bushra Wattoo on 1st January 2018 in Lahore, Aun Chaudhry and Zulfi Bukhari were the only trusted witnesses present on the occasion. It’s not clear if Zulfi Bukhari will cooperate with the NAB or not.