SC orders NAB to produce Hamesh Khan by May 10


Express April 21, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court directed on Tuesday the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to produce former chief executive officer (CEO) of the Bank of Punjab Hamesh Khan, a co-accused in the Harris Steel Mills case, before the court on May 10. NAB’s Deputy Prosecutor- General Raja Amir informed a three-member bench, led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Chaudhry Ijaz Ahmed and Justice Ghulam Rabbani that NAB was in the process of seeking extradition of Hamesh Khan from the US.

The chief justice, however, urged the bureau to accelerate the process and send someone to bring him back to Pakistan. Earlier, the chief justice ordered Sheikh Yaqoob, another co-accused in the case, to refund the money in accordance with his agreement with NAB and dismissed his petition seeking his exclusion from the case.

A K Dogar, senior lawyer defending Shiekh Yaqoob, informed the bench that his client had no connection with the fraud case, adding that he had received Rs1.5 billion from Sheikh Afzal. He said NAB had issued orders to arrest him and two of his sons, Waseem Yaqoob and Salim Yaqoob.

He requested the court to take action against NAB, saying he was being mentally tortured which is against Article 10 (1) of the constitution. Advocate-General of Punjab Khawaja Harris contended that arguments presented by Sheikh Yaqoob’s lawyer were baseless because the man received a share of the money, which had been illegally obtained from the bank.

He said Sheikh Yaqoob had assured NAB that he would return the money by May 10 on which the court adjourned the hearing. After this Abdul Basit, the counsel for Shiek Afzal, the main accused in the case appeared before the court and strongly criticised NAB and the Bank of Punjab, saying that both organisations were “utterly corrupt and incompetent”.

He said no action was being taken against the bank while action was being taken against his client who owed only Rs8.5 billion despite the fact that he justified his investments.

He requested the court to provide some relief to his client, enabling him to return the money he owed to the bank by selling his properties and other assets. Accepting his request, the court directed Sheikh Afzal to refund the money as soon as possible and adjourned the hearing till next hearing.

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