LONDON: General Khalid Maqbool, the second Chairman of National Accountability Bureau (NAB), has said Pakistan signed the contract with Broadsheet LLC to deal with the “common perception that our elite had removed money and assets from Pakistan to outside” and got trapped as Broadsheet started making demands on recoveries from inside Pakistan, using the contractual clauses.
General Khalid Maqbool, who served as NAB Chairman from September 26, 2000 to October 20, 2001 after General Amjad left NAB, told the arbitration judge as a witness that there was public pressure and Pakistani authorities thought that Broadsheet would actually find the assets as perceived.
“This was where Broadsheet came in to help us retrieve those assets. So far as assets inside Pakistan were concerned, we had already established a system within NAB with an extensive reach and we received tremendous help from our own intelligence community,” the former Punjab governor told the court.
General Khalid Maqbool said he met Broadsheet LLC’s Jerry James, Tariq Fawad Malik and Ghazanfar Ali and discussed recovery of assets but soon realised that while “there was a great deal of correspondence between NAB and Broadsheet but no assets recovery at all”.
General Maqbool claimed that under his leadership, NAB made many successful recoveries from inside Pakistan, from both military and political figures, and secured convictions but “by contrast Broadsheet had no role in relation to these recoveries and no right to claim a share of those assets”.
General Maqbool said it was General Amjad who got “great many targets” registered on Broadsheet’s demand. The former NAB chairman said he met a Broadsheet’s delegation from London and asked NAB to assist them fully but “regrettably, we did not experience similar success with either of the Broadsheet or International Assets Recovery (IAR) contracts, the focus of which was on the recovery of assets from outside the country. “To my recollection, only one recovery was ever made with the assistance of four foreign partners from the retired Admrial Mansur Ul-Haq.”
General Maqbool said the NAB staff told him that Broadsheet didn’t regularly provide “meaningful assistance to NAB investigations leading to an actual asset recovery” and there has not been much progress with most of the targets registered under the agreement.
General Maqbool said it’s not true that Pakistan suspended investigations against Nawaz Sharif after he left for Saudi Arabia. He said Broadsheet suspected that an “agreement” with Nawaz had been made but that was not true.
He said: “I was directly involved in this decision to prosecute and had signed a reference against Nawaz Sharif and his associates in the Attock Accountability Court in November 2000. Shortly, Nawaz Sharif was instructed by the government to leave Pakistan and the cases against him at that time were suspended. Dr Pepper expressed his concerns that the govt had entered into an arrangement with Mr Sharif, requiring him to leave the country and offered Broadsheet’s assistance in the valuation of his assets.”
Broadsheet LLC’s Kaveh Moussavi has said Pakistan asked Broadsheet to stop investigating Nawaz Sharif but General Maqbool said he asked that investigations should be put on hold only as Nawaz had been “convicted” and a “fine that was to be collected”.
General Maqbool said that General Munir, who succeeded Maqbool, signed a Power of Attorney for Broadsheet in 2002 to continue investigation against Nawaz Sharif even though Broadsheet had paid £500K to Matrix Research Limited and found nothing against Sharif and his eight family members.
General Maqbool said Broadsheet and IAR were not providing information on the “Targets” and NAB was looking for complete evidence regarding bank accounts, properties, business and other assets that have been amassed, put aside or hidden by the Targets.
General Maqbool said instead of helping Pakistan, Broadsheet started blackmailing Pakistan. “Whenever NAB sealed a case with a target in relation to assets inside Pakistan, Broadsheet would jump on us and demand a share of the recovery even though it had not been involved with the investigations. I recall that Broadsheet had raised an argument that NAB’s success within Pakistan was due to the fear being created by Broadsheet abroad.”
And then General Maqbool said he told Broadsheet that “legal process meant that we needed a strong body of evidence before we could proceed.”
General Maqbool left the position of chairman NAB in Oct 2001 to become the governor of Punjab till 2008.
Broadsheet deal’s central character Tariq Fawad Malik, while speaking to Geo News from Dubai, said: “I will appear before the Broadsheet Commission if required by the Govt of Pakistan. I have nothing to hide. I represented Trouvons and Broadsheet and it was part of my business. NAB should answer about the contract it signed. The contract was mutually agreed. I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s true broadsheet wasn’t making any recoveries and failed in its obligations to Pakistan. Pakistani lawyers in the UK failed at many levels. Their failure was apparent when Kaveh Mousavi engaged them coming from nowhere. Pakistan lost due to bad advice.