ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) says that it is presently examining the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) recent order directing the Bureau to proceed against General (retd) Pervez Musharraf for his alleged corruption while holding the office of the president.
Official spokesman for the Bureau was approached by this correspondent early this week to ascertain what the NAB was doing in respect to the implementation of the IHC order. The spokesman on Friday responded, “We are perusing it.”
Although, the spokesman did not share any further information, a source in the Bureau claims that the prosecution branch of the NAB is inclined to challenge the IHC order but some top officials of the anti-corruption establishment are willing to initiate a probe into complaints against Musharraf as per the direction of the court. The NAB would also launch a probe into the assets of Pervez Musharraf.
The IHC, last week, in an order directed the Bureau to proceed against Pervez Musharraf for his alleged corruption while holding the office of the president of Pakistan. The direction came from a division bench of the IHC comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb.
The IHC had declared that the National Accountability Bureau had the jurisdiction to investigate General (retd) Pervez Musharraf for his assets beyond known sources of income, corruption and corrupt practices.
Besides charges of having assets beyond means, there are also allegations that General Musharraf had illegally doled out military land to those not qualified to get such benefits. In a January 8, 2012, report, The News had reported that Musharraf has suddenly become a billionaire though he hardly had any cash in his accounts when he became the chief executive of the country after imposing martial law on October 12, 1999, and made his assets public. He only had some plots in different cities at that time.
The News had reported that there was no indication as to who funds him and how he became fabulously rich but the retired general has accumulated billions in offshore accounts besides the property that he has already purchased in foreign lands or inside Pakistan.
The News reported quoting sources having close association with the former dictator that Musharraf has at least seven to 10 offshore accounts in Dubai and London containing huge cash in dollars, pound sterling and dirhams.
In his memoirs -- In the Line of Fire -- Musharraf admitted that he had come from a really humble background where they did not have enough money but now he pays at least half a million rupees as monthly salary to his personal staff residing inside Pakistan.
According to January 8, 2012, The News report, “Besides having foreign bank accounts, Musharraf has also made huge saving investments abroad to earn large profits. The source said that in just one Dubai based online trading service — MMA — Musharraf had US$1,600,000 (Rs145 million) last year (2011). Musharraf’s account number, according to the source in this company, is AV77777.
In the Union National Bank, which is an investment bank in Abu Dhabi, Musharraf and his spouse Sehba Musharraf, have a joint account No 4002000304, in which the amount mid was almost UAE Dirhams 17,000,000 (Rs391 million).
In the same bank -- the Union National Bank -- the same duo, Mr and Mrs Musharraf have another joint account No 400200315, which is a dollar account. This particular account contained US$535,325 (Rs48 million).
In yet another UAE Dirham account in the same financial institution — the Union National Bank — Sehba and Musharraf had almost UAE Dirhams 7,600,000 (Rs174 million). The account No is 4003006700.
In the fourth account, No 4003006711, in the Union National Bank, the duo had UAE Dirhams 8,000,000 (Rs184 million). In the fifth account, No 4003006722 in the same bank — the Union National Bank — Musharraf and his wife had US$ 8,000,000 (Rs728 million).
In the sixth account, No 4003006733, Mrs Sehba Musharraf and Mr Pervez Musharraf had UAE Dirhams 8,000,000 (Rs184 million).
In the seventh account, No 4003006744, in the same Union National Bank, the duo holds UAE Dirhams 8,000,000 (Rs184 million).
In their eighth account in the same bank — the Union National Bank Abu Dhabi — the duo had US$ 1,300,000 (Rs118 million).
During the initial few months of his taking over as a military dictator following his coup against the Nawaz Sharif government, General Musharraf did make his wealth public, which hardly contained any cash but only some plots in different parts of the country. Musharraf claimed to be the Mr Clean of Pakistan. How did he become a billionaire is a million dollar question.
The IHC had also declared a NAB letter dated April 25, 2013 as illegal that the anti-graft body had written to complainant, Inamul Rahiem advocate, informing him that the Bureau could not initiate investigation proceedings against Musharraf for want of jurisdiction. Rahiem had filed a complaint before NAB, seeking investigation into Musharraf’s assets inside and outside the country as these were beyond his known sources of income. After NAB returned his application, he had filed a petition before the IHC.
The IHC order declared: "The Bureau is vested with the power and jurisdiction to consider the complaint of the petitioner and after such consideration, it is of the opinion that an offence under the Ordinance of 1999 is prima facie made out, then it will become a duty of the NAB to proceed to inquire, investigate and take all other steps mandated under the Ordinance of 1999. Across the board, accountability is an onerous statutory obligation of the Bureau under the mandate of the Ordinance of 1999. Public trust and confidence is the hallmark of effective and result-oriented accountability. It is the duty of the Bureau to consider every information or complaint laid before it by a citizen and then to fulfill its statuary obligations by proceeding under the Ordinance of 1999 in a fair and transparent manner without fear or favour."
So far NAB has been reluctant to initiate any investigation into the alleged corruption of Musharraf. Recently, the Bureau has even ignored SC’s observations in the Hudaibya case where the NAB was reminded of its own law which envisages 10-year jail for those who hamper or defeat any of Bureau’s investigation, and lamented that NAB did not move against those who had jeopardised the Bureau’s probe by sending Sharifs into exile.
“It is an offence punishable with rigorous imprisonment for up to 10 years, if any person compromises, hampers, jeopardises or defeats any investigation under process before NAB or the Accountability Court,” the Supreme Court order had said while referring to the NAB law.
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