ISLAMABAD: An accountability court, on Thursday adjourned the hearing of Toshakhana case involving former president Asif Ali Zardari and two former premiers without proceedings due to the lawyers’ protest. The accountability court-III judge Ali Asghar Ali hearing the Toshakhana case against Zardari, two former prime ministers - Nawaz Sharif and Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, and others - adjourned the case till February 24th due to the protest of the Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA) and the District Bar Association (DBA) against demolition of lawyers’ chambers by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) at the district courts Sector F-8.
At the start of the hearing, Zardari, Gilani and other accused counsels filed separate applications seeking exemption of their clients from personal appearance before it, which the court approved.
The NAB had filed the Toshakhana reference against former president, two former prime ministers, and others, for allegedly acquiring three vehicles including BMW 750 Li model 2005, Lexus Jeep model 2007 received as a gift from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and BMW 760 Li model 2008 from Libya vehicles and gifts from Toshakhana - an official treasury where gifts from foreign dignitaries or heads of state are deposited - in violation of rules and regulations.
According to the bureau, the evidence collected during the course of inquiry and investigation has established that the accused Gilani in order to extend illegal benefit to the accused, Zardari and Sharif, illegally allowed the retention of vehicles gifted to them by various foreign states and dignitaries, which at that time belonged to the Central Pool of Cars, Cabinet Division, relaxing the procedure of Toshakhana, illegally.
The accused, Zardari and Sharif, had retained the said vehicles against the nominal payment of 15 percent of total value of the vehicles.
The accused, Zardari, made the payment for vehicles and duties of these vehicles through accused Khawaja Anwer Majid and Khawaja Abdul Ghani Majid, from “fake” bank accounts.
The accused Gilani - former prime minister and minister-in-charge Cabinet Division from 2008-2012, had ‘illegally’ relaxed the procedure for the acceptance and disposal of gifts, issued by the government through the Cabinet Division OM no.9/8/2004 TK dated June 25, 2007.
According to these rules, “gifted vehicles shall not be allowed to be purchased by the recipients and be given to the Central Pool of Cars of the Cabinet Division.”
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021