An accountability court on Wednesday adjourned the indictment of a former Sindh Building Control Authority official and his spouse in a Rs240 million graft case for a week because the defendants...
An accountability court on Wednesday adjourned the indictment of a former Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) official and his spouse in a Rs240 million graft case for a week because the defendants sought more time to review the allegations levelled against them by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
NAB had filed a reference against Adil Umer Siddiqui, who had served as a director at the SBCA, and his wife Syeda Nusrat Adil for accumulating wealth to the tune of Rs239,910,609 beyond known sources of income.
The accountability court-III has now fixed October 6 as the date for the farming of charges against the accused, who are currently out on bail. The investigation against Siddiqui was launched in May last year, according to the anti-graft watchdog’s investigating officer Ghulam Abbas, finding him to be in possession of illegal wealth maintained in Benami accounts at different banks.
The IO said that the total assets of Siddiqui and his family stood at Rs239,910,609, which he could not justify during the investigation and made claims that the excess income was earned through his and his wife’s companies as well as accumulated in gifts.
The reference read that being a government servant Siddiqui had accumulated assets, including properties at home and abroad as well as expensive vehicles, disproportionate to his known sources of income and had maintained seven Benami accounts with credits in millions of rupees.
The IO provided a list of Benami accounts with transactions of millions of rupees in the name of different people, a list of witness statements recorded under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code and a list of the relevant documentary evidence.
The anti-graft watchdog’s reference had been filed under Section 18(g), which deals with cognisance of offences, read with Section 24(b), which deals with arrests, of the National Accountability Ordinance.
Section 18(g) states that the NAB chairman or an officer of the bureau duly authorised by him should appraise the material and the evidence placed before him during the inquiry and the investigation, and if he decides that it would be proper and just to proceed further and there is sufficient material to justify filing a reference, he should refer the matter to a court.
Section 24(b) states that if the NAB chairman or an officer of the bureau duly authorised by him decides to refer the case to a court, such a reference should contain the substance of the offence(s) alleged to have been committed by the accused and a copy of the reference should be forwarded to the court registrar to try the accused, and another copy should be delivered to the accused.