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October 24, 2017



All Dar, family assets frozen

ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court (AC) here on Monday issued notices to the parties concerned on the application filed by the National Accountability Court (NAB) seeking endorsement of its order of October 18 on freezing the assets of Ishaq Dar and family in a reference pertaining to assets beyond resources.

The cross-examination of two more witnesses, including Abdur Rehman Gondal, Manager Operations Allied Bank Ltd (ABL), and Masood-ul-Ghani, Manager Habib Bank Ltd (HBL), Islamabad, were completed.

Previously, NAB had filed an application seeking the court’s approval and endorsement for NAB chairman’s order regarding freezing of Dar and his family’s assets and bank accounts.

The newly-appointed NAB Chairman, Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, on October 18 ordered freezing of properties, assets and bank accounts of Ishaq Dar and his family. Justice Iqbal in the order said, “After having gone through the entire record, the statements of prosecution witnesses, incriminating material and documentary evidence with diligent application of mind, I am of the view that there are reasonablegrounds to believe that prima facie the offences of corruption and corrupt practices have been committed as enumerated in Section 9(a)(v) of the NAB Ordinance of 1999, accordingly in exercise of power conferred upon the NAB chairman under Section 12 of NAO, freezing order is hereby passed qua the assets, properties as mentioned in the Reference No 21/2017 titled ‘State vs Muhammad Ishaq Dar’ pending adjudication”.

The NAB chairman in his order further said, “The assets and properties mentioned in the reference are not to be disposed of, pledged, sold or alienated and more so their status shall not be changed in whatsoever manner till disposal of the reference”.

NAB has been seeking assent/endorsement of the Accountability Court as the NAB chairman order reads, “This order shall remain in force for a period not exceeding 15 days and it shall be filed in the court of learned judge, Accountability Court No. 1, Islamabad for its confirmation as required under 1st proviso to Section 12(C) of NAO, 1999”.

NAB, through this application, has sought from the Accountability Court to confirm freezing of the accounts by NAB authorities. A Lahore NAB assistant director, who is also an investigation officer (IO), Nadir Abbas, has filed this application through NAB’s Special Prosecutor Imran Shafique. This application was filed on October 19 and during Monday’s proceedings, the Accountability Court issued notices to Ishaq Dar in this application and put off the hearing for arguments till October 30.

NAB filed the application for the freezing of six bank accounts of Ishaq Dar, properties and vehicles in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and also investments in Pakistan and the UAE.As per NAB, Dar in Pakistan has two bank accounts, in Al-Baraka Bank (Pvt) Ltd, two in Bank AlFalah, one in Allied Bank and another in Habib Bank Ltd.

NAB also listed properties and assets of Dar as follows: A house in Gulberg Lahore, 2 kanal plot in Parliamentarians Enclave Islamabad, 2 kanal plot with Ayaz Builders (Pvt) Ltd, plot at Senate Cooperative Housing Society, Islamabad, a 2 kanal 19 marla plot in the name of Mrs Tabassum Ishaq Dar, 3 plots in Alflah Housing Society Lahore owned by Ishaq Dar, his wife and son Ali Mustafa Dar, 6 acre land in Mouza Milot owned by Mr & Mrs Dar.

In the list of foreign properties and assets, the NAB mentioned a flat in Emirates Hills Dubai owned by Dar, an apartment in Palm Jumairah Dubai, 2003 model Bentley Arnage car, 2006 model Mercedez car, two sets of shares/investment in Baraq Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, shares/investments in Al-Nahayan owned by Ishaq Dar.

List of cars in Pakistan include 2004 model Land Cruiser owned by Mrs Dar, 1999 model Land Cruiser, 2004 model Toyota Corolla car, 1998 model Mercedez Benz, 2008 model Mercedez Benz, 2014 model Land Cruiser owned by Ishaq Dar.

An investment of Rs3,453,060 in Hajveri Holdings (Pvt) Ltd by Mr & Mrs Dar, Rs2,700 shares by Mr & Mrs Dar in Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd.

NAB in its application said that there were serious apprehensions that the accused, his dependents/benamdars might dispose of, alienate, sell, create charge or change the status of the property.

Regarding Monday’s proceedings, the Accoutability Court recorded statements of the two prosecution witnesses including Abdur Rehman Gondal, Manager Operations Allied Bank Ltd (ABL), and Masood-ul-Ghani, Manager Habib Bank Ltd (HBL) Islamabad.

Two witnesses produced before the court Ishaq Dar’s account opening forms, covering letters, signature specimen cards, statement of accounts and Know Your Client/customer forms.Both witnesses during cross-examination by Dar’s counsel Khawaja Haris admitted that the said documents neither were prepared, filled-up nor signed by them.

Khawaja Haris, during cross-examination, asked both the witnesses to exhibit source record through which entries were made in ‘column of remarks’. The witnesses said that they could bring these documents on the next date of hearing and Abdur Rehman Gondal said that the source record contained almost two sacks. Gondal stated before the court that his bank on August 16 received a letter from NAB seeking details of Ishaq Dar’s account in ABL. On August 17, he took all the record to the NAB office. Dar opened the account on March 31, 2005 and account statement covers the period from opening of account till August 16, 2107.

Khawaja Haris inquired the witness if there were two types of entries in the account details, one “clearing entries” and second “transfer entries”. Haris asked him to define the two terms. The witness said that clearing entries were regarding inter-bank transactions while transfer entries referred to the intra-bank transactions. Khawaja Haris then pointed out before the court that some transfer entries were mentioned in clearing entries.

During cross-examination, several times there were cross-talk between the defence counsel and NAB prosecutors. Defence counsel, Khawaja Haris, objected to the prosecutor for assisting the witnesses while NAB prosecutors objected to some questions.

Khawaja Haris pointed out several discrepancies in the original documents and attested photocopies being submitted. Some transactions were mentioned in account details and not in statement of accounts. At one point of time, Khawaja Haris inquired the witness if some documentary evidence had been concealed. The witness replied in negative. Prosecutor Imran Shafique said if defence counsel said that the record was fake, more documents could be produced before the court. At this, Khawaja Haris said that whatever he had pointed out was sufficient to prove that. The witness however said that he could bring more record.

During the cross-examination of Masood-ul-Ghani, he admitted that he had no knowledge why salary mentioned for Dar in account opening form was Rs50,000 and later it was changed to Rs60,000.

On the next hearing on October 30, two prosecution witnesses, Azeem Khan of Bank AlFalah and Faisal Shehzad of Habib Metropolitan Bank, would record their statements and Khawaja Haris would complete cross-examination on Abdur Rehman Gondal and Masood-ul-Ghani.

The Accountability Court directed the prosecution and defence to give 15 names each for the lawyers and associates who would be allowed to attend the court proceedings. AC judge Muhammad Bashir said that 15 court reporters would also be allowed to attend the proceedings.