NAB files another reference against Zardari in fake bank accounts case

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has filed a reference against former president Asif Ali Zardari into a multi-billion rupees fake accounts case.

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman along with a former employee of the President House, Mushtaq Ahmed, has been named accused in the reference worth Rs8 billion filed before an accountability court in the federal capital.

The reference is related to transactions with regard to purchase of a house in the Clifton area of Karachi. Mushtaq Ahmed, Zardari’s former stenographer who is currently in London, has also been accused in the reference. Ahmed was an employee of the President House from 2009 till 2013 and was recruited as stenotypist on the request of Senator Rukhsana Bangash.

According to the reference, the stenographer opened a joint account with Zaid Malik, another accused in the fake accounts case who later struck a plea bargain deal with NAB and thus was not included in the reference.

NAB said Mushtaq remained Zardari’s stenographer from 2009 till 2013 during Zardari’s presidency.  An investigation by NAB showed that his financial profile did not match with the magnitude of transactions made through the joint account.

The reference said during investigation, it transpired that Rs150m were paid from the joint account to Ahmed Abdul Bari to purchase a house located in Clifton, Karachi. The house was later transferred in the name of Zardari.

The reference said Zardari failed to provide any justification for the acceptance of an amount of Rs150m, which proves that the amount received through “complicated, circuitous and devious route” by using Zain Malik and Mushtaq Ahmed in purchasing the house.

NAB said Zardari in his wealth statement as well as documents submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) also “dishonestly and falsely” declared the cost of the house to be Rs53.3m.

The anti-graft watchdog said they have submitted claimed that it had sent a questionnaire to the PPP leader with regard to his Clifton residence but he did not respond to the questions. NAB tried to interrogate the stenographer but he had fled the country.

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