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ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court hearing multi-billion rupees fake bank accounts case, on Tuesday, summoned two more witnesses for recording of their statements in the Thatta Water Supply reference involving former president Asif Ali Zardari.

Accountability Court-II judge Muhammad Azam Khan, while hearing the case against Zardari, Ejaz Ahmad Khan and others regarding award of illegal contract of Thatta water supply to Harish and Company, summoned two witnesses, Syed Nadeem Ahmad and Kaleem Shehzad for recording their statements, and adjourned the hearing of the case till January 27.

At the start of the hearing, Zardari’s and other accused’s counsels filed separate applications seeking one-day exemption for his clients from personal appearance before it, which the court approved.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Irfan Bhola, prosecutor NAB, defence cousnel Farooq H Naek, and Arshad Tabraiz as well as witnesses, Ali Raz and Tariq Majeed, appeared before the court. Accused in the custody of jail authorities were produced before the court. Naek told the court that he does not need to cross examine the witnesses, Ali Raz and Tariq Majeed. At this, the court summoned witnesses, Syed Nadeem Ahmad and Kaleem Shehzad, and adjourned the case till January 27. According to a joint investigation team (JIT) report on fake bank accounts, Harish and Co – Harish s/o Kalumal, chief executive officer (CEO) admitted that he won contract worth Rs164 million for rehabilitation of urban water supply, Thatta, and admitted having paid Rs39.25 million (24 percent) as bribe for his contracts.

As per the NAB officials that Harish and Co did not qualify for “Thatta Water Supply Scheme”.

During the investigation, a contractor namely, Harish s/o Kalumal, owner M/S Harish and Co appeared and admitted before the JIT that he gave illegal gratification of amount Rs39.25 million to Ali Akbar Abro (the then XEN/part of procurement committee) for award of said contract to him on May 21, 2015.

This amount paid as kickback eventually landed into a bank account by the name of Royal International, which turned out to be a fake account. The anti-graft body nominated Asif Ali Zardari and 13 other suspects, in the supplementary filed in connection with Thatta water supply scam.

The bureau had not nominated Zardari in the interim reference, and Ashfaq Leghari, and in-charge Naudero House Nadeem Bhutto, in the supplementary reference. In interim reference, the bureau nominated 13 accused including Ejaz Ahmed Khan, former secretary of Special Initiative Department of Sindh, Hassan Memon, project director/ chairman of the procurement committee for the water supply scheme, Thatta, members of the committee namely, Ali Akbar Abro, Aijaz Ahmed Memon, Athar Nawaz Durrani, Abdul Haleem Memon, Farrukh Khan, Ramzan, Siddiq Sulemani, and Zeeshan Hasan Yousaf, a private contractor Harish, CEO Omni Group Khawaja Abdul Ghani Majeed, and Minahal Majeed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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