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ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court, on Monday, recorded the statement of another prosecution witness in the Park Lane case against former president Asif Ali Zardari and others.

The Accountability Court-II judge, Muhammad Azam Khan, while hearing the case recorded the statement of prosecution witness, Raheel Nafees, a bank official.

The witness told the court that he appeared before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)'s investigation officer (IO) on March 8, 2019 and produced various documents before the IO.

The witness said that the documents include original cheque book recognition slip of account of Park Lane (Private) Limited, original cash requisition voucher of Rs50 million dated November 6, 2009, original authority letter dated November 6, 2009, addressed to Saleemud Din from Sher Ali, original check no 849202 of Park Lane of Rs50 million, original letter of November 4, 2009, from Park Lane regarding arrangement of management of prize bonds Rs50 million, and original check of amount Rs35 million of Park Lane, and original cash requisition voucher Rs35 million.

Irfan Bhola prosecutor NAB, Arshad Tabraiz, Raja Aamir Abbas, Sajjad Akbar, and other accused's counsels appeared before the court. At the start of the hearing, Zardari and other accused's counsel filed an application seeking one-day exemption for their clients, which the court approved.

The court adjourned hearing of the case till September 30. Last year, the accountability court indicted former president and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Zardari and others in a case involving allegations of money laundering and misuse of authority in Park Lane reference. According to the charges levelled against Zardari, he influenced the relevant authorities during his tenure as president to release loans to front companies.

He was accused of being a director of the Park Lane company, and planning to commit fraud. The former president allegedly got his front company, Parthenon (Private) Limited, a loan of Rs1.5 billion with ill intention, and the money was then transferred for his personal use through fake accounts.

The NAB has accused the former president of causing the national exchequer a loss of Rs3.77 billion through fake bank accounts. The anti-graft watchdog alleged that the accused created benami properties through Park Lane Company using Parthenon (Private) Limited as the front company.

Using the money acquired through loans, eight floors were constructed at the IBC Centre. Initially, a loan of Rs1.5 billion was taken that gradually increased to Rs4 billion. Other accused in the case, namely, Omni Group chief Anwar Majeed, Sher Ali, Farooq Abdullah, Saleem Faisal, and Muhammad Hanif.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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