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January 18, 2021

Mandviwalla’s allegations: No affiliation with any group, individual: NAB

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January 18, 2021

ByAsim Yasin

ISLAMABAD: Denying all the allegations levelled against it, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Sunday said it had time and again clarified and announced that it had no affiliation with any political party, individual or group and its affiliation was only with the State of Pakistan.

In a statement with regard to the Deputy Chairman Senate Salim Mandviwalla’s allegations against the NAB in a press talk on Saturday, the NAB said it will not come under any pressure or propaganda campaign.

Clarifying the media reports, the NAB said the land of Kidney Hill area was reserved for amenity purposes i.e. development of a public park. KDA has published a notification in the Gazette of Pakistan under Article 45 of KDA order dated 07-11-1966 & 05-09-1969 regarding Kidney Hill as KDA Scheme No 32 “FALAKNAMA” and proposed it to be a recreational area as park.

The NAB stated that in 1973, the Overseas Housing Society managed allotment of the Kidney Hill land from Karachi Cooperative Housing Societies Union which was not part of the union land and also got approval of the layout plan from the Ministry of Housing and Works which was suspended in 1979 and subsequently cancelled in 1984. According to NAB, the status of land of Kidney Hill remained contested between KDA/KMC and Society on account of its nature as amenity or residential in the respected High Court of Sindh since 1990.

Finally, the status of Kidney Hill land was determined as amenity land by the Supreme Court of Pakistan vide judgment dated 06-08-2019 in CMA No 592-K/2018. According to NAB, Aijaz Haroon made backdated illegal and unlawful allotment of 12xplots of Overseas Society in the name of various builders and subsequently managed their ownership through open transfer letters.

Later on, Saleem Mandviwalla and Aijaz Haroon, knowingly and willingly, entered into a property deal with Abdul Ghani Majeed of the Omni Group and received Rs 144 million approximately from fake bank accounts namely A-One International and Lucky International. M Aijaz Haroon and Saleem Mandiwalla shared crime proceeds of Rs80 million and Rs64.5 million, respectively. Out of the said shady deal, Saleem Mandviwalla retained a substantial amount of deal, which is highly unusual rather next to impossible in any bonafide property deal.

The retention of huge amounts and utilisation of crime proceeds outweigh his contention of being a bonafide facilitator/broker of deal and illustrate his complicity in property deal. Even otherwise, as a general principle, a real estate agent or coordinator is expected to be an expert (skillful, knowledgeable and experienced) as to facts that are basic to any property transaction.

According to NAB, because a real estate coordinator gathers, prepares, analyzes, and determines the value of property and he is held to a professional standard of care and diligence. In any property transaction, the dealer in the very first instance thoroughly familiarizes himself with genuineness of title and that of property is free from any sort of encumbrances.

The accused deliberately chose not to probe the substantive questions so that he could deny knowledge.

The NAB stated that Saleem Mandivwalla has utilised his brother company Mandviwalla Builders and Developers and its bank account in the said transaction to camouflage the transaction as business transaction. “He is beneficiary of the said deal as he has utilised the crime proceeds for his personal benefits. Initially, he purchased plot No. 30/55-A in Overseas Cooperative Housing Society (OCHS) Block 7 & 8 in the name of his employee Abdul Qadir Shiwani and also settled his personal loan with Trust Dawat-e-Haddayah, Karachi,” the NAB stated.

According to NAB, total share of Salim Mandviwalla from this business transaction was of Rs64.2 million and direct deposit of open cheques of fake accounts in the A/c titled Mandivialla builders and developers of Rs29.6 million with Rs20m was transferred to Mr Ahsan, plot seller, through pay orders, requested by Saleem Mandviwalla under his own signatures, direct payment through fake account cheques to Ahsan for purchase of leasehold plot no 30/55-A in Block 7&8, Overseas Cooperative Housing Society, Karachi, and payment of last instalment of loan to Dawat-e-Haddayat, Karachi of Rs4.6 million.

The NAB stated that no person materially relevant to the deal has declared the respective amount in their tax record before FBR. “However, after cognizance and revelation of matter by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) as well as NAB, Aijaz Haroon tried to guise the actualities by revising his tax returns whereby alleged amounts remitted to Saleem Mandviwalla were given the color of loan,” the NAB stated.

The NAB stated that such disclosure is nothing but an afterthought to cover up their complicity as the tax declarations made by Saleem Mandviwalla do not make any such disclosure till date.

According to the NAB report, Saleem Mandviwalla, after a period of six to eight months, sold the property which was purchased by using the crime proceeds in the name of Qadir Shiwani and its proceeds were again routed in the company account of Mandviwalla Builders and Developers of which Salim Mandviwalla held the mandate to operate since 2013. “The same account containing proceeds of alleged crime was again used by Salim Mandviwalla in purchase of 3 million shares of Mangla View Resort valuing around Rs 31 million approximately in the name of his employee Tariq Mehmood. The same shares have been frozen by the respected Accountability Court, Islamabad, on 24-11-2020,” the NAB stated.

The NAB stated that all the payments were made by Saleem Mandviwalla under his own signatures. Tariq Mehmood is an employee of Saleem Mandviwalla having no financial worth. Apparently, he has surfaced as benamidar of Saleem Mandviwalla.

The NAB report stated that Saleem Mandviwalla was issued a call up notice to appear before CIT on October 18, 2019 to justify the retention as well as utilisation of crime proceeds by himself by serving a questionnaire. “He replied to the questionnaire after a lapse of around five months which lacks any explanation/justification,” the NAB report stated.

Subsequently, it stated that Salim Mandviwalla was again issued the call up notice dated 25-06-2020 for his justification pertaining to utilisation of crime proceeds. Instead of cooperation during the investigation, accused Salim Mandviwalla resorted to conceal himself behind the business community. “Bearing in mind the facts/ circumstances of the case referred to above and the documentary evidence, as confirmed again, by the testimony of witnesses overwhelmingly lead only to the irresistible conclusion that Saleem Mandviwalla is recipient of a substantial sum of allegedly crime proceeds which he has used for his own personal benefits.”

Previously, the NAB report stated that in August, 2020, Salim Mandviwalla had written a letter to the chairman NAB which was processed and accordingly NAB responded with a letter dated 22.09.2020.

Moreover, the NAB report stated that chairman NAB on Nov 30, 2020 met with Deputy Chairman Senate Salim Mandviwalla, at NAB headquarters where he apprised the chairman NAB of his case. The chairman NAB said he has great regard for parliamentarians and their self-respect will be ensured as per law.

He further said that the case of Saleem Mandviwalla will be examined and justice will prevail in accordance with law. NAB has reiterated again that NAB always believes in working in accordance with the law.

The NAB reports stated that since the matter is sub judice in the respected Accountability Court, Islamabad, and the NAB will present its case in the Accountability Court, Islamabad, as per law.

The NAB has reiterated again that it is a people-friendly institution which always believes in ensuring self-esteem of everyone and also believes in working according to law. “Conveying such kind of wrong impression to the public by some of the media through one-sided and incorrect reporting against the transparent working of NAB is against the journalistic ethics as well as rules.”

NAB hopes that in the true spirit of responsible journalism, an effort should always be made to verify the authenticity of the facts from NAB before going to print/air any news related to bureau as per the law,” the NAB report stated.

The NAB stated that some of the media reports wherein a malicious campaign is being carried out to malign National Accountability Bureau casting one sided aspersions over NAB as an institution and its workings.

The NAB stated that the context used in some of the said media reports are premised on deliberate conjecturing and assumptions based on cherry picked surmises which are far from true facts aimed only to bring disrepute and discredit NAB.

The NAB stated that the NAB is an apex anti-corruption organisation of the country which is mandated with the responsibility of eradication of corruption and to recover money from corrupt elements.

“It has been said time and again by NAB in order to present a correct and unbiased picture to the general public as the media must ascertain facts and avoid airing/publishing concocted, baseless, false, and incorrect stories about the working of NAB without seeking the official viewpoint of NAB as per law,” the NAB stated.

The NAB stated that it was a law abiding organisation which strongly believed in working as per law.

“It is also being reiterated over here that NAB will not bow down under any propaganda campaign whatsoever about its transparent, fair and meritocratic workings which will continue to nab corrupt elements and to recover looted money and deposit in national exchequer considering it as its national service,” the NAB stated.

The mandate under the NAO 1999 empowers NAB to initiate proceedings against holders of a public office, or any other person for corruption and corrupt practices.

As far as the performance of NAB is concerned, the NAB stated that the NAB is the focal organisation of Pakistan under the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

It stated that Pakistan is the only country that has signed an MOU with China through NAB to oversee ongoing projects under CPEC.

Due to the efforts of NAB, the NAB said Pakistan had become the first head of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation’s (AARC) Anti-Corruption Forum. NAB has recovered Rs714 billion from corrupt elements directly and indirectly since its inception which is a record achievement.

The NAB stated that it has introduced the concept of the Combined Investigation Team (CIT) system in order to benefit from collective wisdom which is lending quality.

The NAB stated that it has also established its own Forensic Science Laboratory in order to have the forensic analysis of fingerprints, questioned documents and digital forensic in order to save time, ensure secrecy and quality of investigation.

It stated that NAB has established its own Pakistan Anti-Corruption Academy to provide state of the art training facilities to its investigation officers and prosecutors on modern lines.

It stated that NAB’s prosecution division is vigorously pursuing the corruption cases in the respected courts as per law and our overall conviction ratio in Accountability Courts is about 68.8 percent. “The reputed national and international organisations like Transparency International Pakistan, World Economic Forum, PILDAT, Mishal Pakistan, and as per survey of Gallop, 59 percent of people have shown trust upon NAB,” the NAB stated.

The NAB stated it has filed 1,230 corruption references which are under trial in respected Accountability Courts and their total worth is about Rs943 billion.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chairman Senate Salim Mandviwalla Sunday refuted all the allegations levelled against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and said he had nothing to do with the properties and agreements of Omni Group.

“The Omni group has made private transactions and I have nothing to do with it. The NAB should avoid propagating wrong news and disinformation about me,” he said while talking to this correspondent in response to the NAB statement.

Mandviwalla said the NAB with such statement exposed itself and its already low credibility.

He said the credibility of NAB had already been exposed by the judiciary, Parliament and civil society and it could not ruin his reputation with such trivial tactics, statements and baseless allegations.

“The role of NAB has been exposed before everyone,” he said. Mandviwalla said Aijaz Haroon was his friend and will always remain his friend come what may.