Panama investigation: the trouble within NAB

April 02,2018

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ISLAMABAD: After feeling the heat at the accountability court, the country’s top anti-corruption watchdog came across a serious trouble over the appointment of new ‘in charge supervisory team’ to oversee conclusive proceeding directly linked to the Panama Papers case.

A serious controversy started at the NAB Headquarters last week when Prosecutor General Syed Asghar Haider assigned NAB Lahore Directorate to monitor the Panama Papers related affairs, informed officials revealed to this correspondent on Sunday.

Sudden change in the Panama supervision team --from the Rawalpindi NAB Directorate to Lahore NAB Directorate -- seriously irked National Accountability Bureau Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, who was completely being kept in the dark on this key development. The prosecutor general, on March 24, appointed Deputy Prosecutor General Accountability Lahore Chaudhry Khaliquz Zaman as in-charge supervisory team to look into the proceedings of the Panama Papers’ case. Mr Zaman is a retired judge and considered to be a trusted aide of the newly-appointed NAB prosecutor general.

Deputy Prosecutor General Accountability, Rawalpindi, Muzaffar Abbasi, was looking after all the legal matters of Panama case since references against the Sharifs’ family on the direction of the country’s top court landed into the accountability court. The newly appointed prosecutor general changed the supervisor of NAB case, which has now entered into a decisive phase.

“It is conveyed that the NAB chairman has taken serious view of unlawful/illegal intervention of senior NAB officers from its headquarter and regions in ongoing cases at any stage in any manner. It is also directed that whosoever found divulging influence -- pressure for any reasons/motives -- will be dealt with strictly in accordance with law,” wrote Director General Operations Division Zahir Shah to heads of all NAB regional headquarters on March 28, 2018. This letter is exclusively made available with the Geo News.

“According to para four of the minutes of the meeting held at Islamabad office, Khaliquz Zaman is appointed as in-charge supervisory team who is readily available 24 hours to assist to the team as and when required,” revealed an internal communication exclusively available with the Geo News. The internal communication happened last week when an important meeting was headed by the prosecutor general. “[The] competent authority further directed

Mr Zaman to forward progress report of each case separately to the NAB prosecutor general office. The report must highlight ‘attendance of accused persons, counsel for the accused persons, witnesses present/examined, gist of evidence recorded in the court, objections by the defence counsel and any miscellaneous petitions filed in this case,” revealed the communication.

“Keeping above (sic) in view all the NAB officers are requested to work within their domain/mandate in order to ensure merit/rule the law for efficient and logical conclusion of cases without fear and favour,” Zahir Shah further wrote in his letter which, on the direction of the NAB chairman, was written who also ordered an inquiry to know the real motive behind this confidential move.

Sensing the gravity of this matter, the NAB chief also passed an order of ‘No Further Action” over the move came through the deputy prosecutor general accountability Lahore who was appointed new head of the supervisory team.

The Geo News approached NAB spokesperson and the prosecutor general for the comments but both neither confirmed nor denied aforesaid happenings. Despite repeated attempt made by this correspondent both even did not respond the text messages.


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