ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court Islamabad, on Monday issued nonbailable arrest warrant against former chairperson of Benazir Income Support Programme (BSIP) and Pakistan Peoples Party leader, Farzana Raja, in a case that accused her and others for embezzlement in the BISP funds. The Accountability Court-III Judge, Syed Asghar Ali, while hearing the case, issued the nonbailable arrest warrant against Farzana on her continuous absence from the court hearings, and also declared her a proclaimed offender.
The court also issued directives to block her Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) and also placed her name on the Exit Control List (ECL).
The court also separated her case from the rest of the under-trial accused and set June 14 for framing charges against the remaining accused.
At the start of the hearing, Farzana’s counsel filed an application seeking exemption for his client from personal appearance before the court.
The court expressed annoyance over the PPP leader’s application and observed she has not appeared for hearing even for once.
The accused has been seeking exemption from the court proceedings for the past one year and has moved to the US. The court rejected her application for exemption and issued nonbailable arrest warrant for her. During the hearing, the defence counsel of the co-accused said that first let us know whether this is an interim reference or supplementary reference.
Charges cannot be framed against the accused through interim reference, he further said. On this, the judge said that according to the Supreme Court judgement investigation of a case cannot be ended at any stage. The court summoned investigation officer (IO) of the case during the next hearing. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman, former Justice Javed Iqbal, approved the reference against the PPP leader on December 3, 2019.
The reference comprised 32 volumes, and 19 persons have been nominated in the case.
The bureau approved the reference for granting advertisement campaign contract to four advertising agencies contrary to the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules, which allegedly inflicted Rs1.46 billion in losses to the national exchequer.
According to the reference, a complaint had been received in the NAB alleging that the BISP awarded contracts to advertising agencies in 2009-10 and 2010-11 in violation of the PPRA rules, 2004.
It was further alleged in the complaint that Rs 1.657 billion was given to an advertising agency, M/s Midas (Pvt) Limited.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021