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ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Monday endorsed the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) request to freeze former secretary Sindh Agha Wasif Abbas's bank accounts and assets. Agha is a co-accused in Sindh Nooriabad Power Companies (SNPC and SNPC-II) and money laundering case against Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and others.

The accountability court-III judge Syed Asghar Ai, while hearing the case approved the NAB plea to freeze Agha Abbas's accounts and assets. The bureau has frozen 13 banks accounts of Abbas and his family and a plot in the DHA. The accused, Abbas through his counsel Raja Qadeer filed objections over accountability court order to freeze his assets.

The court issued notice to the NAB and ordered the bureau to submit its reply regarding the objections raised by the accused till July 15. Abbas's counsel told the court that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had granted bail to his client and even then the anti-graft body froze accounts and asset of Abbas.

He requested the court to reject the NAB's request regarding freezing of assets and accounts of his client. The NAB prosecutor told the court that the accused had allegedly initiated the summary for Sindh Transmission & Dispatch Company (STDC), without feasibility and also gave official cover to illegal award of project i.e. 'laying of 132KV Double Circuit Transmission Line between SNPC and K-Electric Grid' amounting to Rs1.275 billion to M/s Technomen Kinetics, which could have been completed in only Rs125 million in case of connectivity with Hyderabad Electric Supply Company, which was originally part of this project, even otherwise, the cost of the project was enhanced to Rs1.90 billion.

He said suspicious transactions including government checks in a company registered in the name of Agha Wasif's wife came to light during investigation. The accused and his wife had been included in the investigation and given opportunity to come up with explanation in this regard but they did not participate in the inquiry, he said.

The court adjourned hearing of the case till July 15. On June 30, the accountability court had deferred the indictment of Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah in the Nooriabad Power Plant reference until July 28 due to absence of two accused in the hearing.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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