Sale of Jakarta embassy building: NAB on notice

LHC seeks reply on a petition alleging the bureau failed to probe the matter.


Rana Tanveer January 24, 2012

LAHORE:


While hearing a contempt petition on Monday, the Lahore Hight Court sought replies from the National Accountability Bureau, Rawalpindi, to explain its failure in holding an inquiry into an alleged embezzlement case.


The contempt petition was filed against NAB for not probing the alleged embezzlement in the illegal sales of properties of Pakistani embassies in Japan and Indonesia.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial directed the chairman and director general of NAB, Rawalpindi, to file their replies till February 22.

Dr Qaiser Rashid moved the petition, alleging that NAB authorities failed to conduct an inquiry into the alleged embezzlement, in violation of the court’s order.

On April 15, 2011, while disposing of Rashid’s previous petition, the LHC had directed the NAB director general to hold an inquiry into the allegations within 60 days.

In his previous petition, Rashid had submitted that a local newspaper published a news item on April 28, 2010, claiming that former president Pervez Musharraf sold gifted property ‘for peanuts’.

According to the report, on February 18, 2002 former ambassador to Indonesia Maj Gen (retd) Mustafa Anwar misused his authority by selling the buildings of the embassy and residence of the ambassador at throwaway prices, fetching huge financial kickbacks from the deal.

The property had been gifted by then Indonesian president Soekarno to Pakistan but was sold under the pretext of a directive issued by then chief executive Musharraf.

Gen Mustafa sold the property needlessly, violating procedures and defying the directive of the foreign ministry to wait for proper approval of the inter-ministerial committee.

The deal was concluded through a company, owned by the ambassador’s Indonesian wife.

The petitioner alleged that the property was sold at a throwaway price to give benefit to a Japanese company Nomura Real Estate, and in return the embassy staff received kickbacks.

He stated that being a citizen he had the constitutional right to know how much money was embezzled in these deals and how much money has been recovered so far from the looters.

Rashid requested the court to declare the sale of the properties as illegal, against public interest and in violation of fundamental rights.

He also requested that the federal government, the NAB and the FIA be directed to proceed against all those who are responsible for the sale of the embassy buildings.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2012.

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