ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in a unanimous verdict Tuesday ruled that the PTI received funds from prohibited sources.
In its verdict, the ECP said that the party, in violation of the Constitution, had received funds from 34 foreigners. The party received funds from US, Australia and UAE.
The party accepted funds from a US business personality, it added.
The party accepted funds from a US business personality, it said, and added, “13 unidentified accounts also surfaced during the probe in the PTI funding case.”
The ECP said that the PTI had submitted a false affidavit about the party’s accounts. PTI Chairman Imran Khan had submitted a false F1 form to the ECP, it added.
A three-member bench, comprising Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and ECP members Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Muhammad Jatoi announced the verdict.
“The Commission is satisfied that the contributions and donations have been received by the respondent party from prohibited sources,” the ruling stated.
|Funds transferred from UAE-based company (Wootton Cricket Limited)
|Bristol engineering services FZ LLC Dubai
|E planet Trustees
|Funds collected through LLC-5975 donations and contributions and transmitted to PTI
|PTI Canada Corporation #4451121
|Mrs Romita Shetty (Singapore)
|Funds collected through LLC-6160 donations and contributions and transmitted to PTI
|Dunpec Pty Ltd, Australia
|Zain Cotton Ptv Ltd
|M/s Young Sports
|Amount received in 13 accounts (11 unknown, 2 not pertain) as per PTI during 2008-2013
|PTI Canada Corporation #4451121 (Pak rupees)
|PTI UK Reg#07381036
1) PTI Pakistan knowingly and willfully received donations from Wootton Cricket Limited registered in Cayman island which was operated and owned by a business tycoon Arif Masood Naqvi, the owner of Abraaj Group. The Respondent party was a willing recipient of prohibited money of US $ 2,121,500.
2) PTI Pakistan knowingly and willfully received donations from Bristol Engineering services — a UAE-based company, an amount of US $ 49,965/- into its accounts in Pakistan which are hit by prohibition in violation of Pakistani Laws.
3) PTI Pakistan knowingly and willfully received donations from E-Planet Trustees a Cayman island Pvt registered company trust, based in Zurich Switzerland, and SS Marketing, Manchester a UK-based Pvt Company. From both the companies an amount of US $ 101,741/- into its accounts in Pakistan which are hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani Laws.
4) PTI Pakistan knowingly and willfully received donations through PTI USA LLC-6160 and PTI USA LLC-5975 US $ 2,525,500/-. From both the companies, the amounts received into its accounts of PTI Pakistan are hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani Laws.
5) PTI Pakistan knowingly and willfully received donations through PTI Canada Corporation and PTI UK Public Ltd company an amount of US $ 279,822/- and GBP 792,265/- respectively. Similarly, an amount of PKR 3,581,186/- was also donated by PTI Canada Corporation to PTI Pakistan. From both the companies, the donated amounts received into its accounts of PTI Pakistan are hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani Laws.
6) PTI Pakistan knowingly and willfully received donations from Dunpec Pty Ltd, an Australia-based company and from Anwar Brothers, Zain Cotton and Young Sports (Pakistan-based companies) a total amount of PKR 689, 750. From both the companies, the amounts received into its accounts of PTI Pakistan are hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani Laws.
7) PTI Pakistan through fundraising campaigns carried out by PTI USA LLC-6160 and PTI USA LLC-5975 was the recipient of donations from 34 foreign Nationals and 351 foreign-based companies. The foreign nationals’ collection of donations and contributions from foreign national and companies are hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani Laws.
8) PTI Pakistan has also been found to be a beneficiary of donations by Ms Romita Shetty, a US-based businesswoman of Indian origin. An amount of US$ 13, 750/-donated by Romita Shetty is hit by the prohibition on donations by foreign nationals and in violation of Pakistani Laws.
9) PTI through its submission before the commission has accepted ownership of only eight (08) accounts while it declared 13 accounts under the category of unknown accounts and not pertain to PTI accounts. The data obtained from SBP reveals that all the 13 accounts disowned by PTI were opened and operated by the senior PTI management and leadership at the Central and Provincial levels. In this regard, it is further added that PTI failed to mention and disclose three accounts which were also being operated by the senior leadership of the party. Non-disclosure and concealment of 16 bank accounts by PTI is a serious reporting lapse on the part of PTI leadership and in violation of Article 17 (3) of the Constitution of Pakistan.
10) The chairman of PTI for the financial year 2008-09 to 2012-13 (Five Years) has submitted Form-I which were found to be grossly inaccurate on the basis of the financial statements obtained by this Commission from SBP and other material available on record.
“Therefore, in view of the material available on the record and above discussion, the matter falls within the ambit of Article 6 (3) of PPO, 2002. Hence the Commission directs that a notice may be issued to the Respondent party in terms of Rule-6 of PPR 2002, as to why the aforementioned prohibited funds may not be confiscated. The office is also directed to initiate any other action under the law, in the light of this order of the Commission.”
The demand for an announcement of the verdict in this important case increased following an explosive story by the Financial Times, revealing the sources of funding of the PTI.
The electoral body had reserved the judgment on June 21 this year after a record period of eight years, making it a unique case in the country’s history. The petition was filed by Akbar S. Babar — one of the PTI’s founding members and former information secretary — in November 2014.
The case was marred by several reasons, including the PTI challenging the Election Commission’s jurisdiction, a change of its lawyers nine times and other delaying tactics.
Babar had alleged that around $3 million in illegal foreign funds was raised through two offshore companies and the money was illegally sent to the accounts of PTI employees from the Middle East through ‘Hundi’.
He had also alleged that the funds which used to be funnelled from abroad were kept hidden in the annual audit report submitted to the Election Commission.
The cause list — issued by the Election Commission — includes the scheduled announcement of the case, triggering a debate in political circles and the general public on the political future of the PTI and its Chairman Imran Khan.
At one stage, the Election Commission had written to the State Bank to get details of the accounts after the PTI refused to cooperate.
The ECP had established a three-member Scrutiny Committee in March 2018 to look into the issue of foreign funding.
On October 01 last year, the ECP reserved its verdict on four petitions filed by the PTI for secrecy in examining the case. On October 10, 2019, the Election Commission rejected the objections made by the then ruling party to the audit of its accounts through the Scrutiny Committee, but the PTI challenged the decision in the Islamabad High Court and it was decided to hear the foreign funding case on a daily basis in November 2019.
The commission had rejected the ‘incomplete’ report of its Scrutiny Committee on the 2020 foreign funding case and stated in the order that the report was not complete and comprehensive.
Later, in November 2021, the Scrutiny Committee submitted an audit report of the PTI funds. The committee, constituted in March 2019, had also submitted its report six months after the deadline ended.
The committee report confirmed that the PTI received funds from foreign nationals and companies, showed less funds and several of bank accounts. The report also cited the controversy over allowing four PTI employees to receive donations in their personal accounts but said scrutinizing their accounts was beyond the committee’s purview.
It may be recalled that the Scrutiny Committee was constituted in March 2018 to thoroughly check the accounts of PTI but it took nearly four years to submit its report to the ECP which was submitted in December 2021. The committee had also expressed its helplessness in getting certain related details from the PTI.
However, some documents were kept confidential in this report and were not brought to light after which on January 19, 2022, the Election Commission ordered that all confidential documents be made public.
On April 14, the Islamabad High Court ordered the Election Commission to decide the case within a month, which was challenged by the PTI and the court order was suspended.
The ECP judgment is being awaited by many with bated breath and speculations are rife that the verdict will give a new turn to the ongoing political crisis.
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