Saturday July 02, 2022

‘Closed envelope’ agreement under scrutiny: Ex-govt had housing society’s liability adjusted

Sanaullah Khan said there was no clue to the settlement made with the housing society in the UK

June 15, 2022
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, along with other ministers, addressing the post-cabinet meeting in Islamabad on June 14, 2022.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, along with other ministers, addressing the post-cabinet meeting in Islamabad on June 14, 2022. 

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet Tuesday formed a sub-committee to probe 180 million pounds (Rs50 billion) laundered allegedly by a private housing society to the United Kingdom.

The committee would also investigate an alleged out-of-court settlement by the previous government with the housing society in return for money that was never deposited with the treasury.

Giving details of the decision of the Federal Cabinet, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said there was no clue to the settlement made with the housing society in the UK. “Shahzad Akbar used to act as a broker of Imran Khan on different occasions,” he claimed.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Maryam Aurangzeb, Minister of State for Petroleum Musadiq Malik, Minister for Communication Asad Mahmood and Adviser to PM on Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira were also present.

The minister said the out-of-court settlement had taken place reportedly for an amount of Rs5 billion. He said Rs45 billion were deposited with the registrar of the Supreme Court as an adjustment of liabilities against the Bahria Town.

He said the sub-committee would thoroughly investigate the matter. The case would be followed accordingly as per the findings, he added. The minister said that then so-called ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’ prime minister Imran Khan, who stood exposed, had taken approval of the agreement Dec 3, 2019, without allowing then cabinet members to read it, though some of them had sought clarification.

Then cabinet members without reading the summary had also approved that the government would not tax the amount of remittance or any source from which the amount was being or would be remitted.

The documents shared by the minister with media showed that over 240 kanals located in Mohra Noor, Islamabad, had been transferred by the society in three mutations on July 25, July 29 and October 28, 2021.

The government rate of the land was Rs530 million, Rana Sanullah said, adding that its value was seven to ten times higher, if calculated, than the market value. He said the National Crime Agency (NCA) of United Kingdom had confiscated over Rs50 billion of the society transferred against the law. Under the UK law, it was the property of the State of Pakistan, he said.

The minister said former SAPM Shahzad Akbar had acted as a ‘broker’ for the former premier. He said Shahzad Akbar had settled the matter for Rs50 billion and got Rs5 billion as commission, he said.

He said that the former government had settled the said huge amount as liability against the society. It had provided a big relief to the society by taking its share, he said.

He said the society had donated and transferred 458 kanals of a precious land to Al-Qadir Trust after an agreement which was signed by Bushra Bibi and the donor, he added. He said there were only two trustees of Al-Qadir Trust --- Bushra Bibi and Imran Khan.

Similarly, the minister said that 240 kanals of land had been transferred in the name of Farah Shahzadi, wife of Ahsan Iqbal Jameel, in Bani Gala. He claimed that Farah Shahzadi had not escaped because of “taking diamond rings” rather she had run away to avoid questioning on illegal transfer of 240 kanals in Bani Gala.

Rana Sanaullah said that there was no university at the site rather the society had organised all functions there during visits of Imran Khan. He said Imran Khan had received his share in all such matters and it was a plunder of public money.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Petroleum and Senator Dr. Musadik Malik said the plundered money that was detected in the United Kingdom should have been returned to the national exchequer but it was gifted to one who had actually been fined.

He said the money was seized under the Economic Crimes Act and according to this act it should be returned to the country it belonged to. He said the out-of-court settlement had been made at a time when this case was being heard.

Who had represented Pakistan in the settlement was still a mystery, he said, adding that the country could only be represented by the Attorney-General of Pakistan or Ministry of Law. “No one else can sign any agreement, contract or can be signatory at international level,” he said.

He said there was no document in the AGP office or Ministry of Law to prove that somebody had been authorised to go to England for the settlement. The senator said the out-of-court settlement had taken place and the money that was supposed to be given to the government was deposited with the Supreme Court registrar.

He said then cabinet was forced to approve something hidden in a letter without allowing the members to read it. He said the letter was given by Special Assistant to Prime Minister Shahzad Akbar to Imran Khan for the cabinet approval, he said and added that according to law no special assistant could bring summary to the cabinet.

He said who had given clearance to it was still unknown, as there was nothing available anywhere in the Ministry of Interior, Finance, Foreign Affairs or Attorney General Office. Minister for Communication Asad Mahmood said that Imran Khan used to talk about religion and raise slogan of corruption as a tool to come into power.

The former government had committed record corruption during its three and a half year tenure, he said. He said Imran Khan had come into power through some agenda and time had proved our party’s claim.