ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has initiated formal proceedings against Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif to probe into his alleged involvement in money laundering.
NAB on Wednesday announced it has commenced process of verification of a complaint it received from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). In the complaint sent to NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal in January, a PTI leader had accused Asif of financial wrongdoing and money laundering.
“Khawaja Asif will be provided ample opportunity to counter allegations of money laundering levelled against him,” NAB spokesperson said, adding that the allegations are yet to be proven.
Welcoming the decision, the PTI spokesperson later said: “It’s better late than never”.
The PTI leader Usman Dar, who is complainant in the case, said he will present documentary evidence whenever the bureau calls for information. “I have all the evidence related to Asif’s and his family’s foreign accounts and money laundering to the tune of several millions [rupees],” he claimed.
NAB spokesperson said complaint verification process could take two-month time and final decision – either to initiate a formal inquiry against Asif – will be taken if NAB receives solid evidence against the accused during complaint verification.
The complainant said Asif will be behind bar if NAB maintains transparency in the investigation process. The PTI has already been pursuing another case against Asif on similar charges at the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
In a related development, NAB chairman also ordered complaint verification against former finance minister Ishaq Dar and Usman Saifullah – the member policy board of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) – for their alleged involvement in illegalities in various appointments.
While, a complaint received against the National Highway Authority (NHA) for alleged irregularities and corruption to the tune of billions of rupees in award of contract for construction of Multan-Sukkur Motorway project was also accepted for verification.
NAB also initiated an inquiry against the officials of The Bank of Punjab for their alleged involvement in manipulation of shares that resulted in loss to the national exchequer. In another decision, the chairman also ordered complaint verification against an MPA from Gujranwala, Sohail Zafar, for having assets beyond known sources of income.
In another case, NAB Rawalpindi arrested a proclaimed offender Abdul Hameed in a case of Modarba on the charges of corruption, corrupt practices and cheating the public.