Accountability court summons Nawaz, Zardari, Gillani in Toshakhana case

Court summons former heads of state on May 29


​ Our Correspondent May 15, 2020
PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court in Islamabad on Friday summoned former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Yousaf Raza Gillani and former president Asif Zardari on May 29 in the Toshakhana (national depository) case.

According to The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the former leaders have been charged with corruption under sub-sections 2, 4, 7 and 12 of Section 9 (A) of the NAB Ordinance.

The country’ premier anti-graft body claimed Zardari had only paid 15 per cent of the total cost of the cars through fake accounts. "Zardari also received cars as a gift from Libya and the UAE as president and used them himself instead of depositing them in the treasury," NAB added.

NAB further said that Nawaz was not holding any public office in 2008 but was given a vehicle without any justification.

"Abdul Ghani Majeed paid for the vehicles through fake accounts whereas Anwar Majeed made more than 20 million illegal transactions using Ansari Sugar Mills accounts," NAB added.

Besides, Anwar Majeed also transferred Rs9.2 million to Asif Zardari's accounts while Abdul Ghani Majeed transferred Rs37 million to a civil servant in Islamabad.

Earlier in January, NAB had approved filing of references against the former heads of state for inflicting losses to the national exchequer by taking gifts from the national treasury and not depositing them in the Toshakhana.

The Executive Board Meeting (EBM) presided over by NAB Chairman (retd) Justice Javed Iqbal had approved filing cases against former premiers Nawaz Sharif and Yousaf Raza Gilani and ex-president President Asif Ali Zardari for keeping the government-owned valuables and vehicles in their possession.

Gifts are routinely exchanged between heads of states or officers holding constitutional positions on the eve of a state visit. According to the gift depository (Toshakhana) rules, these gifts remain the property of the state unless sold at an open auction.

Rules allow officials to retain gifts with a market value of less than Rs10,000 without paying anything.

Former president Asif Zardari is alleged to have set a record within a year of assuming office by taking one-third of all expensive gifts presented to all former presidents and prime ministers.

Of the gifts of the value of Rs160 million, the PPP leader reportedly had kept items worth Rs62 million value during the first year of his presidency.

In the past, leaders have paid as little as 15% of the assessed value of a gift. A list presented to the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat in 2019 had revealed that only 447 of the 3,486 gifts received by state representatives (from presidents down to deputy secretaries) during foreign visits were deposited in the gift depository. The rest were retained by the receivers after paying a meagre amount or free of cost.

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