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Pakistan

Govt makes Broadsheet judgment public: Shahzad Akbar

  • He said the inter-ministerial committee had been mandated to furnish its recommendations about action on the Broadsheet's findings within 48 hours.
Updated 18 Jan 2021

ISLAMABAD: The government upholding the tradition of sharing the findings of inquiry reports, on Monday made the arbitration judgment by Sir Anthony Evans in the Broadsheet LLC case public.

Though the judgement involved liability and quantum awards , however, the government sought approval from the Broadsheet lawyers in writing for the purpose Advisor to the Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability Barrister Mirza Shahzad Akbar said while talking to the media.

He said accountability sans transparency was not possible. The nation had to pay the price of NROs (National Reconciliation Ordinance) given by the past regimes to the corrupt and it was imperative to disclose the wrongdoers.

The national exchequer had to suffer a loss of $29 million on account of payment to Broadsheet for the assets of the corrupt detected by it, but not recovered due to the deals reached by the wrongdoers with the then rulers, he added.

Shahzad Akbar said Pakistan was compelled to pay 20 percent of the detected amount stashed by the looters abroad to the Broadsheet without recovery of even a single penny. He said it was in the year 2000, when the then government gave an NRO to Nawaz Sharif and other corrupt elements and as a result it unilaterally abrogated the agreement with Broadsheet in 2003 stopping it from detecting the assets.

The Broadsheet took the case to a London court for arbitration, which imposed $ 21 million penalty on Pakistan for the assets of the corrupt detected out by it, he added.

The advisor said out of $21 million, the payment of $1.5 million pertained to the Avenfield Apartments purchased by the Sharif family from the looted money while the rest $19 million was related to the assets amassed by other corrupt people abroad.

Pakistan was at a total loss as it had to pay the 20 percent of the total worth of the detected looted national wealth as per agreement to the Broadsheet, he added.

Shahzad Akbar said accroding to the Broadsheet report, Shehbaz Sharif as Punjab chief minister had received commission / kickbacks of $160 million from the highway projects and $7.3 million from other deals.

The Broadsheet lawyers argued in the court that the Sharifs were allowed to leave the country in 2000 despite they had unearthed proofs of corruption against them.

He said the accords were inked with Broadsheet and International Assets Recovery in June and July 2000 respectively for detection of assets of some 200 Pakistani nationals, including Nawaz Shairf and Benazir Bhutto abroad.

He said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif along with his family left for Saudi Arabia in December 2000 after striking a deal with General Pervez Musharraf, while the agreement with Broadsheet was cancelled by the National Accountability Bureau in October 2003.

He said the Broadsheet was paid twice - $2.25 million and $1.25 million in 2008 as two settlements agreements were signed with it.

However, the Broadsheet filed a petition in the London court in October 2009 seeking more money, which gave the verdict in its favour. Pakistan filed an appeal against the decision, which was rejected in 2019. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government filed another appeal against the verdict in July 2019.

The Broadsheet, he said, got an interim court orders in June 2020 seeking seizure of Pakistan’s assets in the United Kingdom, including the Avenfield Apartments. The interim orders were withdrawn after the Broadsheet received the payment in August 2020.

To a question, he appreciated the performance of National Accountability Bureau for making record recoveries from the corrupt in last two years.

He said the inter-ministerial committee had been mandated to furnish its recommendations about action on the Broadsheet's findings within 48 hours.