Accountability court resumes hearing of graft reference against Dar

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court here on Monday resumed hearing into a corruption reference against former finance minister Ishaq Dar for possessing assets disproportionate to his declared source of income.

Judge Muhammad Bashir is conducting the trial proceedings.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) witness Faisal Shahzad, a banker by profession, is to testify against Dar.

The witness could not attend the last hearing due to his personal engagements.

The anti-graft body is also expected to submit a report pertaining to confiscation of properties owned by Dar and his guarantor for the perpetual absence of the accused during the court proceedings.

On Thursday, the NAB witnesses testified against the former finance minister.

At the outset of the hearing, NAB witnesses Abdul Rehman and Masood Ghani recorded their statements before the court. The duo testified for the second time against Dar.

Another prosecution witness Azeem Khan, a manager at the private bank, submitted Dar’s three bank accounts details.

The witness said Dar’s first account was operated from 2001 to 2012, subsequently the second one from August 2012 to December 2016 while the third one from January 2017 to August 2017. He also presented the details of Hajveri Holding Company’s account in the court, besides the record of the locker operated under the names of Dar and his wife.
Rehman also provided the income records of Dar from 2005 to 2017.

Earlier this week, the court had declared former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar a proclaimed offender in a corruption reference filed against him by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in compliance with Supreme Court’s landmark July 28 verdict.

At the outset of last hearing, Ishaq Dar’s lawyer submitted a plea to seek the delay in declaration of his client as a proclaimed offender along with a fresh medical report.

The counsel argued that his client was suffering from coronary artery disease and undergoing a treatment abroad, hence he could not attend the court proceedings.

NAB prosecutor Imran Shafique opposed the plea and asked the court to declare Dar a proclaimed offender for his perpetual absence.

Judge Muhammad Bashir then reserved a judgment on the plea submitted by Dar’s lawyer.

Later, he announced the verdict declaring Dar a proclaimed offender for his perpetual absence during the court proceedings.

The court also directed Dar’s bail guarantor Ahmad Ali Qudoosi to submit surety bail worth Rs5 million within three days.

Previously, the court had issued non-bailable arrest warrants for him on November 14 and subsequently declared him an absconder on November 21.

According to the NAB reference, the accused had acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his name or in the name of his dependents of an approximate amount of Rs831.678 million as per the investigation conducted so far.

The assets are disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for.