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January 16, 2020

NAB gets more time to complete attachment of absconding suspects’ properties

Karachi

January 16, 2020

An accountability court on Wednesday granted more time to the National Accountability Bureau to complete the attachment of properties of the absconding suspects in a case about alleged accumulation of Rs1.6 billion assets through illegal means.

The accountability court-III judge gave NAB until February 11 to submit its report on the properties owned by the 11 absconders, including the family of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani.

The court on a previous hearing had ordered initiating the proceedings under sections 87 and 88 of the Code of Criminal Procedure against Durrani’s wife Naheed, his daughters Sonya, Shahana, Sara and Sanam, son Agha Shahbaz, and six others Muhammad Irfan, Gulbahar Baloch, Shakeel Soomro, Syed Muhammad Shah, Ghulam Murtaza and Munawar Ali.

Earlier, NAB had told the court that the named members of the Durrani family had gone to the United States and the United Arab Emirates, as per their travel history obtained through the Federal Investigation Agency, while the rest had gone into hiding at an undisclosed location.

A progress report submitted by NAB read that the bureau was awaiting the responses from the deputy commissioners, Federal Board of Revenue, Defence Housing Authority and Malir Development Authority over the details sought on the properties in the name of the absconders.

Pakistan Peoples Party leader Durrani was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau from Islamabad on February 20, 2019, over an investigation into his alleged movable and immovable assets beyond his known sources of income, making 352 illegal appointments, embezzlement of public funds in the construction of the MPA Hostel and the new Sindh Assembly building, as well as the appointments of project directors for these schemes.

NAB had filed the reference against Durrani and 19 people, including the absconders. It maintained that the speaker had accumulated assets beyond his income and could not account for a difference of Rs1,610,669,528 between his declared total income from 1985 to 2018 and the assets in his, his family, dependents and benamidars names. It added that the fortune was made out of kickbacks, embezzlement of public funds and other illegal means.

Durrani, his brother Agha Masihuddin, Mitha Khan, Tufail Sheikh, Gulzar Ahmed, Zulfiqar Dahar, Shamshad Khatoon, are on bail.

Meanwhile, Ahmed moved an application in the court, seeking removal of his name from the Exit Control List for the purpose of travelling abroad for business. The court has issued a notice to NAB to submit its arguments on the plea on January 23.