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November 15, 2017

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Warrant issued for Dar’s arrest

Warrant issued for Dar’s arrest

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Tuesday issued non-bailable warrant for Finance Minister Ishaq Dar after he once again did not appear in person and sought an exemption due to his ailment through the counsel.

The judge, Muhammad Bashir, issuing non-bailable warrant of arrest for Dar, directed his guarantor Ali Ahmed Qudoosi to ensure presence of the accused on the next date of hearing or his surety bonds would be confiscated. “It is the last chance for the accused to appear before the court.” 

Dar's counsel Qusain Faisal Mufti told the court that during angiography of his client, one blood vessel leading toward his heart had ruptured. If insisted, an audio-visual arrangement could be set up through which the court could even see medical conditions of the accused, he added.

The court then put off the matter till November 21 and directed NAB to attach properties and assets of Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz, while reserved its order to declare them proclaimed offenders.

SECP Registrar Sidra Mansoor will appear before the court to record her statement regarding shares of the two brothers in different companies. NAB has also filed an application to attach two more properties of Dar that they recently came to know about.

At the start of proceedings, three investigation officers (IOs) of NAB – Mehboob Alam, Imran Dogar and Muhammad Kamran – appeared before the court and submitted their compliance reports regarding proclamation of Hassan and Hussain. They recorded their statements, informing the court whether or not all formalities were done away with, following which the accused could be declared proclaimed offenders.

They said they pasted proclamation notices at the family residences of the two at Jati Umra, Raiwind, and at Model Town, Lahore, while these were also dispatched to Pakistan High Commission in London through the Foreign Office.

The IOs said the high commission in its compliance report said the proclamation notices were pasted on the residence of Hassan and Hussain in Avenfield. Earlier summons were also delivered at the said residence, the NAB officials added.

They submitted that the news about proclamation was also widely flashed in print and electronic media and the accused were wilfully avoiding proceedings despite full knowledge. They prayed to the court to declare the two as proclaimed offenders.

An IO, Muhammad Kamran, submitted details of four bank accounts of Hussain in the Standard Chartered Bank. As per details, one account has 4,272 Euros in it, the second 3,992 US dollars, third 207.53 Pounds and the fourth had Rs 382,381.

The IOs submitted that they had also written letters to the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) and Defence Housing Authority (DHA), inquiring if Hassan and Hussain had any property there. However, no such property was found.

The NAB had also written a letter to the Lahore deputy commissioner and the Bahria Town administration, asking the same question, and the reply was still awaited.

The judge questioned whether the assets will be attached in three corruption references, to which the prosecutor replied in affirmative. However, the court would hear arguments in the matter today (Wednesday) and then decide whether to declare Hassan and Hussain as proclaimed offenders or not.

In the matter of Dar, his counsel submitted before the court that doctors had advised him to take rest for three to six weeks. The information about the ruptured blood vessel was conveyed to him (counsel) by Dar's son, he added. ‘Regarding this medical condition, the formal report is still awaited and as soon as it arrives, I will submit the same before the court,” Dar's counsel said. 

Mufti said NAB had not yet got attested the first medical report of his client as directed by the court, adding that he had received an attested power of attorney by his client which was in the name of Dar's close relative Rehan Bashir. Through the said power of attorney, his client intended to appoint him (Mufti) as pleader in the case, the defence lawyer stated.

The NAB prosecution vehemently opposed Dar's exemption and insisted that non-bailable arrest warrants may be issued. A NAB prosecutor Imran Shafique argued before the court that Dar's counsel submitted a vague report. “As per previous report, Dar's angiography had to be performed on November 3. At first the accused attended a British doctor and when he did not prepare a report as per his wishes, the accused turned to another doctor of an Indian origin Dr Ranjeet Deshpandey. The accused has not been appearing before the court since October 30 when his bailable arrest warrants were first issued. Later, he remained absent on November 2, 11 and 14,” he argued.

Meanwhile, NAB Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal has ordered to freeze two more properties of Dar and filed an application before the accountability court, seeking to endorse the decision.

The NAB chairman in his 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 reasonable grounds 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 Chairman NAB under section 12 of NAO, freezing order is hereby passed qua the assets.” The two properties are: Plot No 33 & 34 Holiday Park Ali Razabad, Raiwind Road, Lahore, and 92-B-1 at MM Alam Road, Gulberg III, Lahore. The first property is owned by Hajveri Trust and the second property by Hajveri Foundation.

The NAB in its application said both properties were owned by Dar, his wife and companies, which were transferred to the Hajveri Trust and Hajveri Foundation in 2001-02. During investigation, it transpired that both entities were run by Dar, it added.

The NAB chairman in his order 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."

The Bureau is seeking assent/endorsement of the 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."

On the other hand, the a two-member Islamabad High Court (IHC) bench issued notices to NAB and the accountability court judge in a plea moved by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, challenging the trial court’s decision of not to merge the three references being heard by the latter against him, and adjourned proceedings till next Monday. The IHC, however, rejected the plea to stop the accountability court proceedings.

Meanwhile, Nawaz, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar will appear before the accountability court for the hearing of NAB references.

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