ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari was arrested by a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) group from his Islamabad residence hours after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected the PPP chief’s bail plea.
The previous president was shifted to the accountability body’s Rawalpindi office after his arrest.
A two-member bench of the high court, comprising Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, allowed the anti-graft watchdog to arrest the Zardari.
Zardari and his sister, provincial lawmaker Faryal Talpur, are two of the primary accused within the cash laundering scandal which utilised pretend bank accounts to channel illegally gained funds overseas.
No arrest warrant has but been issued for Talpur.
A big presence of safety personnel and senior officers had been current on the former president’s Islamabad residence. Reportedly, the NAB group was unable to enter the premises initially as Zardari’s authorized group was asking for the right paperwork.
The accountability body had additionally approached National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser to inform him of the PPP lawmaker’s impending arrest.
The decision was reserved earlier immediately by the IHC in two instances associated to cash laundering of billions via pretend accounts.
Zardari is accused of illegally awarding a water provide contract to a non-public firm – M/S Harish & Firm. The high court disposed off pre-arrest plea within the M/S Harish & Firm case after NAB stated it had not issued arrest warrants within the case.
The instances are a part of the investigations being carried out by NAB in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s verdict within the cash laundering of billions via pretend accounts case whereby it forwarded the joint investigation team (JIT) report with instructions to research and file references.
Different suspects embody Omni Group’s Anwar Majeed and his son Abdul Ghani Majeed, former Pakistan Inventory Alternate chairperson Hussain Lawai, Summit Bank Senior Vice-President Taha Raza.
On May 14, the anti-corruption unit furnished particulars of inquiries, investigations and references within the pretend accounts case. Within the report, NAB listed down not less than eight cases the place Zardari’s link had been established. It additional added that 22 inquiries and three investigations are underway whereas three references have been filed.
The pretend accounts saga
Data relating to the pretend accounts got here to the fore when an intelligence company picked up a outstanding cash changer in an unrelated case. In December 2015, the Federal Investigation Company (FIA) started a discreet investigation into sure bank accounts via which multi-billion rupee transactions have been made.
The probe was initially shelved however resumed virtually a 12 months and a half later with FIA’s State Bank circle initiating a proper inquiry in January 2018. By June, the FIA had a number of high-profile names on its listing however was unable to make headway–for a number of causes.
It was at his level that the Supreme Court intervened after which chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar took suo motu discover of the ‘gradual progress’ within the money-laundering case. In July, Zardari’s shut aides Hussain Lawai, Taha Raza and two others had been arrested. Subsequently, the primary case was registered within the mega-corruption scandal.
The then chief justice ordered the formation of a joint investigation group to quicken the tempo of the investigation. The JIT recognized 11,500 bank accounts and 924 account holders in the beginning of their investigation.
The JIT report in a nutshell
Based on the report, the JIT recognized 11,500 bank accounts and 924 account holders in the beginning of their investigation.
Its specialists generated 59 Suspected Transaction Reviews (STR) and 24,500 Money Transaction Reviews. Meaning the transactions had been flagged as suspicious.
As a result of high quantum of transactions, the JIT selected a threshold of Rs10million “to trace, observe and minutely examine the movement of funds past the rapid counterparties and decide the supply of funds and supreme beneficiaries.”
It questioned 767 people, together with Zardari and Talpur, whereas Bilawal submitted written responses.