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Broadsheet didn’t apologize to Nawaz: NAB chief

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal shocked the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday when he claimed that the man who had apologized to former premier Nawaz Sharif had no connection with the UK-based asset recovery firm Broadsheet LLC.

Without naming the CEO of asset recovery firm Broadsheet, Kaveh Moussavi, the anti-corruption watchdog said that Broadsheet had not apologized to Sharif and the one doing so was someone else, adding he did not want to go into details and interfere in politics. “Broadsheet has not apologized; the one who has apologized is someone else,” the chairman of the NAB chief said, adding that, “basically, he [Moussavi] has no connection with Broadsheet”.

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The revelation came during the PAC meeting when Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s leader Khawaja Asif asked Javed Iqbal if he could share the breakdown of Broadsheet inquiries over the years. Iqbal replied he was ready to provide a complete breakdown of Broadsheet inquiries but asked that the report of Broadsheet Inquiry Commission, prepared by Supreme Court Justice (retd) Azmat Saeed Sheikh, be first read as it had addressed the issues in detail, saying if anything was left to be answered then he would.

Following the report, Asif highlighted that the head of the Broadsheet had apologized to Sharif on the grounds that Broadsheet could not find anything against him, but Iqbal denied that. When Asif emphasized that the man issuing the apology had been associated with Broadsheet for a long time, Iqbal replied that he did not want to go into details and interfere in politics.

Recently, Moussavi had issued an apology to the PML-N supreme leader through a video interview with a private TV channel for allegations of corruption. “We found a lot of plundered wealth [linked to others], but I can categorically state after virtually 21 years of investigation that not one rupee was related to Mr Nawaz Sharif or any member of his family. If anyone says otherwise they are lying,” he said.

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Meanwhile, Javed Iqbal also spoke about the suggestion that the new government should bin NAB or amend the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance of 1999, saying “amendments are always proposed keeping personal interests and cases in view”. Iqbal urged that his suggestions based on his experiences should also be considered if it is finally decided that the law should be amended. “Amendments to NAB Ordinance should be based on how much help would it provide in eradicating corruption,” Iqbal said, adding that “it shouldn’t be the reason of change that who will get how much benefit.” He said that parliament should strengthen NAB through legislation.

In response to a question by PAC chairman Rana Tanveer, Iqbal said it was a “false impression” that NAB favoured plea bargain by taking only half or little amount of money from the accused, saying the final authority rested with the court in plea bargain cases and whatever was being taken from accused parties was with the approval of the courts.

On Tanveer’s allegations that NAB allegedly remained involved in political engineering, Iqbal challenged this, asking him to point out a single case where political engineering was evident. While naming a few scandals like LNG, wheat, sugar and medicines, Tanveer said that there shouldn’t be angular or targeted inquiries; they should be transparent. It was also agreed that NAB would provide details of “looted money” by the public office holders and recoveries made in such cases in the next meeting. The anti-graft watchdog also told PAC that NAB had made recoveries of Rs821 billion, including Rs500.650 indirect recoveries, Rs198.057 billion bank loans defaults, Rs45.914 of court fines imposed and Rs76.952 via voluntary return and plea bargain. Answering a question about the recovery in pounds from Bahria Town’s Malik Riaz, Iqbal said the amount recovered from the Riaz family in London in November 2019 was approximately £140 million, which was transferred to an account administered by the Supreme Court.



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