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December 1, 2020

Sindh Assembly Speaker indicted in Rs1.6 billion NAB reference

National

December 1, 2020

KARACHI: An accountability court on Monday indicted Sindh Assembly’s Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani and 18 others in a graft reference pertaining to accumulating assets beyond known sources of income.

The accountability court-III will begin trial of the accused on December 22 as it has issued notice to the prosecution to bring their witnesses on the next hearing. The National Accountability Bureau had filed a reference against Durrani, his spouse, children, brother and others for possessing assets worth around Rs1.6 billion allegedly made through illegal means. The NAB maintained that Durrani could not account for a difference of Rs1,610,669,528 between his declared total income from 1985 to 2018 and the assets, including properties, vehicles and others valuables, in his, his family, dependents and Benamidars names which surfaced during investigation. It accused a total of 19 people, including his wife Naheed, son Shahbaz, daughters Sanam, Sonya, Shahana and Sara, brother Agha Masihuddin, Zulfiqar Dahar, Shamshad Khatoon, Munawar Ali, Ghulam Murtaza, Muhammad Ifran, Shakeel Soomro, Gulbahar Baloch, Aslam Langah, Tufail Shah, Mitha Khan, Muhammad Shah and Gulzar Ahmed, of colluding in the corruption.

On Monday, the judge read out the charges to the accused and asked if they admited to it or not. They all denied after which the judge formally taking cognizance of the case issued notices to the prosecution and defence about beginning of the trial in December.

With the reference, the anti-graft watchdog attached a list of 27 declared and undeclared assets, including properties, investments, vehicles, in Durrani and family’s name and stated that they were valued at Rs479.4 million however the accused showed them to be worth Rs151.6 million.

Furthermore, the NAB showed Durrani the beneficiary of seven Benami properties, of these six in DHA and one in Malir, worth over Rs1 billion, that were allegedly purchased in the name of his servants. It added that six of these properties were sold to different people while one was still in his possession. The NAB maintained that Durrani provided incomplete and partial details of his assets and income, so the details were obtained from the Federal Board of Revenue and the Election Commission of Pakistan.