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January 18, 2019

NAB clarifies news item


January 18, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s spokesperson has clarified a news item titled “NAB closes investigation of Multan Metro Money Laundering” published in daily The News and termed it totally baseless and incorrect.

It is important to mention here that on a query of the reporter, the NAB spokesman has already informed that inquiry is ongoing. Media is requested kindly avoid speculations.

Conveying such kind of wrong impression to the public, in spite of the clear cut official version of the NAB spokesman, continued incorrect reporting of Fakhar Durrani reporter of The News seems a malicious campaign against NAB. The Bureau hopes that in the true spirit of responsible journalism, an effort should always be made to kindly publish the true official point of view about any NAB case in daily The News.

Fakhar Durrani Adds: First of all NAB, in its clarification, has narrated a totally wrong headline. The title of the story and central idea of the story published in The News dated January 16, 2018, is “NAB makes no progress in money laundering aspect of Multan Metro”. The News has never mentioned that NAB has closed the Multan Metro Bus case.

Secondly, the accountability bureau has not challenged a single fact of ‘The News’ story that the accountability bureau has not investigated the suspicious characters involved in money laundering from Pakistan to China.

Facts of the case are that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had not only traced the companies, but it also succeeded to catch the dubious characters who laundered money to Chinese company Yabaite from Pakistan.

The entire record of these companies and the dubious characters was handed over to NAB in December 2017. However, despite passage of more than one year, NAB neither investigated those companies nor it summoned or arrested the main characters of money laundering raising serious questions on NAB’s inquiry. The sources have also confirmed that NAB is protecting some powerful hands involved in this whole episode apparently to frame the former Punjab chief minister in the money laundering scam. However, once the FIA reached to those characters all of a sudden, NAB came into action and took over the case from the Federal Investigation Agency.

NAB has also not probed that who facilitated the Chinese company Yabaite in Pakistan which claimed that it worked on Multan Metro Bus project and who aided them to get the fake letters attested by Foreign Office of Pakistan.

The bureau has neither approached Salman Sehgal nor Ijaz Sheikh who facilitated the Chinese company Yabaite’s owner in Pakistan and helped him in creating fake documents. The accountability bureau has also not investigated that who facilitated them in the Foreign Office to get these fake letters attested. The Punjab Police and Special Monitoring Unit of the Punjab government had confiscated the computer of one Salman Sehgal. The forensic audit of Salman Sehgal had helped the provincial government into the investigation. However, NAB has not probed this aspect nor it took over the computer of Salman Sehgal, said the source.

It was clear from The News investigations in November 2018 that some powerful people in Pakistan managed to set up a company in China and later made many transactions from Pakistan to China via Dubai and connected it with Multan Metro Project. All this was done with a well-thought-out strategy to fix responsibility on some important people, but the planners could not succeed as all the characters used to set up fake companies and fake bank accounts were completely exposed later.

This investigation can also lead to find out the ‘real powerful players’ behind opening the fake bank accounts in the names of poor Pakistanis and transferring huge amount abroad. These real players are so powerful that no one can touch them and they can also manage to get the case transferred from one institution to another or get the inquiries against them closed. It is interesting, however, that how all this game was played; the money gets transferred and later the transactions are used to target some individuals. It’s a case study.

The accountability bureau was sent a detailed questionnaire to ask whether it has explored the angle of money laundering in Multan Metro Bus Project. However, despite repeated reminders NAB could not answer a single question sent to the bureau by this correspondent. Later, it was also confirmed by one of the central character who was used to launder money from Pakistan to China that NAB has never approached him.

The News stands by its story.

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