Sunday June 04, 2023

Toshakhana case: NAB collects evidence from Umar Farooq Zahoor in Dubai

Zahoor’s lawyer told Geo News that his client had met the NAB team and cooperated with them

March 09, 2023
Norwegian-Pakistani businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor. — Photo provided by author
Norwegian-Pakistani businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor. — Photo provided by author

DUBAI/LONDON: A team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has collected evidence and interviewed Dubai-based Pakistani businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor for the ongoing Toshakhana investigation against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.

Sources told Geo News that a four-member NAB team, headed by Director Rizwan Ahmed, met Zahoor at the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai to collect information about the sale of the precious watch, which was received by the PTI chief as a state gift from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Khan later sold the watch in the open market.

Zahoor’s lawyer told Geo News that his client had met the NAB team and cooperated with them.

Umar Farooq Zahoor brought the Mastergraff Special Edition Mecca Template rare watch with him to the consulate for the NAB team to see and verify. He visited the Graff store in Dubai Mall with the NAB team where it was verified officially that the watch was genuine and one of a kind. The Graff store confirmed to the NAB team that it’s a unique and timeless set and the only one in the world. Even the shop manager had not seen it before. The Graff store confirmed to the NAB that the price of this watch cannot be determined since these are custom-made items and any price can be paid for this. This is in the antique category due to its unique valuation,” shared a NAB source.

The Pakistani Consulate in Dubai also confirmed that Liberia’s Ambassador at Large Zahoor had signed papers in the presence of Pakistan’s consul general after handing over evidence to the NAB team.

Shafiq, the owner of Arts of Time, has already confirmed that the receipt deposited by Imran Khan in the Toshakhana treasury was bogus and forged.

NAB sources have confirmed that Shafiq’s statement has also been recorded by the investigation team.

“He has confirmed to the NAB team that the receipt produced in his name is bogus and fake,” said the source.

In November last year, Zahoor, while speaking to Geo News, said that former first lady Bushra Bibi’s friend Farah Gogi had sold the expensive Graff wristwatch for $2 million to him in 2019. He had said that originally Shahzad Akbar had introduced him to Farah Gogi, who arranged for the sale of the watch gifted to the former premier by the Saudi crown prince.

The rare items in Zahoor’s possession are a diamond MasterGraff Tourbillon Minute Repeater with Makkah map dial GM2751, diamond cufflinks with 2.12ct H IF and 2.11ct I IF round diamonds GR46899, a diamond gent’s ring 7.20cts, VVSl rose gold pen set with pave diamonds and an enamel Makkah Map.

Zahoor told Geo News that he has provided original receipts and evidence of the purchase of all rare items to the NAB team and everything had been confirmed and verified by the anti-corruption watchdog.

The NAB had issued a call-up notice to Zahoor in the Toshakhana case around five weeks ago. He appeared before the NAB investigation team in Islamabad in the first week of February. The notice said: “The inquiry proceedings have revealed that a luxury gift item presented to the former prime minister of Pakistan was purchased by you and is currently in your possession. Hence, you are in possession of information relevant to the subject case. You are, therefore, requested to join the inquiry proceedings before the Combined Investigation Team (CIT).”

The former premier, his wife Bushra Begum and PTI’s top leaders have been asked to appear before the investigators in the same case.