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January 14, 2021

MPs panel to get briefings from NAB chairman, other top officials

Islamabad

January 14, 2021

Islamabad : A parliamentary panel is poised to look into the payment of Rs4.5 billion to assets recovery firm Broadsheet LLC by Pakistan as a penalty imposed by a London arbitrator.

The 21-member National Assembly standing committee on foreign affairs, headed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) member Ehsanullah Tiwana, will hold an in-camera meeting on January 18 to get briefings from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman and several other relevant figures.

Apart from the NAB chairman, the law and justice secretary, controller general of accounts and auditor general of Pakistan have been asked to personally attend the meeting. They have been urged to forward a soft copy of their respective briefs by email and 45 hard copies by regular mail, each in English and Urdu, for advance study of the members of the forum.

According to the officially announced agenda of the meeting, the panel will get a briefing on the British court's order to debit Rs450 crores (Rs4.5bn) from the accounts of the Pakistan High Commission in London over the non-payment of the penalty by NAB to the foreign asset recovery firm, Broadsheet LLC.

Besides getting Rs4.5bn from Pakistan, Broadsheet has also written to the NAB lawyers in London seeking an additional sum of US$1,180,799.66, while confirming that it is in receipt of funds from United National Bank’s London branch for the sum of US$28,706,533.34 in accordance with the terms of Deputy Master Lay’s order of December 17.

Broadsheet’s lawyers say this payment partially satisfies Justice Teare’s quantum and costs orders (sealed 25 October 2019 and 29 November 2019, respectively). However, pursuant to paragraph 3 of both orders, interest continued to accrue following the issue of Broadsheet’s Third Party Debt order and an additional sum of US$1,180,799.66 had accrued prior to receipt of the funds from United National Bank.

While Pakistan has paid a whopping amount of foreign exchange to Broadsheet, NAB asserts that the firm has not made any worthwhile contribution to the recovery of looted money allegedly stashed abroad by Pakistan’s top politicians and others.

The parliamentary committee will also be apprised of the British court's denial of Pakistan's claim to 35 million UK pounds in the Nizam of Hyderabad case.

The panel wants to be briefed on the legal expertise in the ministries of foreign affairs and law and justice in the context of dealing with various cases, agreements and treaties with foreign governments and countries.

The committee will also get a briefing on the public complaints regarding the authentication/verification of documents by the foreign ministry. Due to Covid-19, those who want to get their papers verified by the foreign office are facing many problems, which create difficulties for them in foreign countries. In some cases, they are unable to make it to foreign countries to resume their jobs.