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ISLAMABAD: A prosecution witness on Thursday told the Accountability Court hearing Toshakhana case against former president Asif Ali Zardari, two former premiers, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Nawaz Sharif, and others that he had produced transcript of speeches of Gilani before the anti-graft body.

The prosecution witness, Malik Shakeel Anwer, producer of PTV news, while testifying before Accountability Court-III judge Syed Ali Asghar, said that he had appeared before the NAB investigation officer (IO) on July 2019, in connection with Toshakhana case and produced before him transcript and DVDs of two speeches of former premier Gilani. The court after completing recording of statement of the witness, Anwer, summoned another witness Ejaz Ahmed Khan. The court adjourned hearing of the case till March 3.

The associate of Zardari’s lead counsel Barrister Shiraz Shaukat Rajpar and NAB prosecutor Waseem Javed appeared before the court.

At the start of the hearing, Zardari and the other accused counsel filed separate applications seeking one-day exemption of their client before the court, which the court approved.

The NAB had filed the Toshakhana reference against former president Zardari, two former prime ministers, Nawaz Sharif and Gilani, and others for allegedly acquiring of three vehicles including BMW 750 Li model 2004, Toyota Lexus Jeep 472 model 2007 gifted by the embassy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and BMW 760 LI model 2008 gifted by the embassy Libya, 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 the 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 no9/8/2004 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, 2022

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