Sharjeel Memon sent on 10-day judicial remand

Memon was arrested by National Accountability Bureau officials on Monday

Our Correspondent October 24, 2017

KARACHI: An accountability court remanded on Tuesday former provincial information minister and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader, Sharjeel Inam Memon, to custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for ten days for questioning in connection with a Rs5.76 billion government advertisements graft scam.

The court also issued notices to the bureau on two applications moved by Memon, seeking medical facilities and B class in jail.
On Monday, Memon was arrested by NAB officials after playing hide and seek for over six hours in and outside the Sindh High Court (SHC), which had cancelled his interim pre-arrest bail and ordered the anti-graft watchdog to arrest him, along with 11 co-accused.

The PPP leader, who had returned from self-imposed exile in London and Dubai, kept sitting inside the court premises as his lawyer exhausted all legal options to save him from being arrested by the NAB officials.

On Tuesday, the NAB investigators produced Memon in court amid tight security. No one was allowed to enter the courtroom and premises of the government barracks, where national accountability courts are located next to the SHC.

Due to strict security, the litigants and other visitors faced extreme difficulties. The security personnel also stopped Memon's son and brother, who along with PPP leaders Mukesh Kumar Chawla, Imdad Pitafi, Fayyaz Bhutt and others, visited the court to show sympathy to the former minister. They were allowed entry after the PPP ministers introduced themselves.

Sharjeel siphoned off Rs5.77b through ad tenders

Memon, a close aide of former president and PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, was nominated in a reference by NAB relating to alleged corruption in award of advertisements of the provincial government's awareness campaigns in electronic media.

According to the bureau, an investigation into awarding of advertisements between July, 2013 and June, 2015 revealed that the accused acted in connivance with each other, resulting in a loss of Rs3.28 billion to the national exchequer. It further revealed that Rs5.76 billion were allegedly paid to seven advertisement companies in violation of the Sindh Public Procurement Rules, 2010.

NAB alleged that the former information minister had illegally approved contracts of favourite advertising agencies at exorbitant rates.

Accountability watchdog triumphs in six-hour game of ‘NAB me if you can’

Besides the former information minister, former provincial information secretary Zulfiqar Ali Shalwani, deputy directors of the information department, Anita Baloch, Mansoor Ahmed Rajput and Mohammed Yousuf Kaboro, Salman Mansoor of Adarts and Inam Aktar of Evernew Concepts were among the 17 accused cited in the reference.

The former minister, who was living in self-imposed exile in Dubai or London for one-and-half-year, had earlier sought pre-arrest bail from SHC, but had failed to return to the country to appear in the courts.


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