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ISLAMABAD: The Scrutiny Committee that probed the funds of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the Foreign Funding Case declared an overstatement of Rs146.40 million related to the PTI’s accounts in the financial year 2012-13, the former ruling party has told the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The PTI received funding of Rs1.05 billion in the financial year 2012-13 but the scrutiny panel miscalculated this amount and included an overstatement of Rs146.40 million, the PTI’s financial expert, Najam Shah, told the ECP during the hearing of the foreign funding case on Wednesday.

Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja headed the three-member bench that heard the case comprising Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Muhammad Jatoi.

The financial expert said the Scrutiny Committee did not have any authority to seek the PTI’s funding record from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). The Scrutiny Committee made some serious mistakes in its audit and wrongly compared the PTI’s audit reports with the SBP’s record, the expert said.

Durrani, the ECP bench member, asked Shah whether he meant to imply that Scrutiny Committee was not authorised to write to the SBP to get access to the PTI’s funding record.

The PTI’s counsel and former attorney general for Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor Khan replied that the Scrutiny Committee exercised its powers to get PTI’s financial record from the SBP but several bank accounts mentioned in the scrutiny panel’s report were either dysfunctional or unrelated to the PTI and the former ruling party did not have any knowledge of these accounts.

Khan further explained that the PTI’s Central Finance Wing was not in knowledge of the individual accounts opened by the PTI members and amounts that were received in the individual accounts were not included in Central Finance Wing’s audit. Those accounts were closed when the Central Finance Wing learnt about them, he added.

Upon this, the CEC remarked, “PTI, to some extent, has admitted mismanagement in the funding.”

Durrani inquired from the PTI counsel whether the funds the former ruling party received in its accounts were reflected in the party’s wealth details submitted to the ECP. The defence lawyer said that all the funds the PTI received were reflected in the wealth details.

Shah, the PTI’s financial expert, said, 11 accounts mentioned in the SBP were unrelated to the PTI. The SBP included those PTI accounts that were closed, he said, adding that Scrutiny Committee also included these accounts in its findings.

Shah said the PTI has submitted its objections to the Scrutiny Committee’s report and sought more time to get additional information related to the case.

The CEC observed, “This case has already been lingering for many years - we would not let this matter linger on - an impression is being created that this case has been deliberately kept lingering.”

The CEC further said that the defence side should take “five minutes to explain the entire record in this case. Even we have memorised your record.”

The defence counsel said he would discuss with the financial expert that how much more time is required to conclude the arguments.

The case was adjourned till today (Thursday).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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