NAB files reference against ex-PM Gilani, others

Published: September 7, 2018
Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. PHOTO: AFP

Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday filed another corruption reference in which the country’s political bigwigs have been accused of making financial and administrative irregularities on a large scale.

According to a handout, NAB Rawalpindi filed a reference against former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, former Ministry of Information Technology secretary Farooq Awan, former Universal Services Fund (USF) Chief Executive Officer Riaz Asher Siddiqui, Midas CEO Inam Akbar, former secretary of the USF Syed Hasan Sheikh and former personal assistant to Pro IT Muhammad Hanif for “misuse of authority in illegal publicity campaign through M/s Midas Pvt Ltd and attempt to cause loss to the national exchequer”.

As per details shared by NAB, during the 26th USF board meeting held on December 28, 2011, accused Yousuf Raza Gilani (the then prime minister), being Minister of IT and as chairman of the USF board, directed to run a media campaign for highlighting achievements of the USF.

Farooq Awan, the former secretary of the Ministry of Information Technology, misused his authority in running the illegal publicity campaign through M/s Midas Pvt Ltd in violations of rules and attempts to cause loss to the national exchequer.

Midas CEO Inam Akbar violated the Press Information Department (PID) instructions and prescribed procedures regarding media campaigns and undertook the entire electronic media campaign without getting any written orders (release order) — neither from the Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) nor from the USF and served bill for payment.

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“The media campaign was launched by M/s Midas (Private) Limited which was not on the panel of the USF — neither before nor afterwards,” the NAB handout said.

However, it was manipulated by accused USF CEO Riaz Asher Siddique to place it on the panel with the connivance of government officials to legitimise the media campaign and to facilitate payment of Rs128 million, it added.

“There was no competition held for formally awarding the media campaign, which is totally against the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules and policy guidelines issued by the Ministry of Information Broadcasting and PID.”

The handout added the accused with the connivance of each other processed for an ex-post facto approval by the board to legitimise the payment to M/s Midas (Private) Limited and to cause loss to the kitty to the tune of approximately Rs128 million. “However, due to timely cognisance by NAB, illegal payment was stopped to M/s Midas.”

The reference was filed by NAB Rawalpindi Investigation officer Adil Shehzad before the Accountability Court Islamabad judge.

The NAB Rawalpindi had also filed a reference against seven key politicians and key officials regarding delay in the Nandipur power project. The reference was filed in the Islamabad Accountability Court on Tuesday.

Those against whom the reference was filed included former law minister Zaheeruddin Babar Awan and former water and power minister Power Raja Pervez Ashraf.

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