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ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday constituted a subcommittee to investigate an out-of-court settlement made of over Rs50 billion in a money laundering case by the previous government.

Briefing the media persons after the Cabinet meeting along with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister of State for Petroleum Musadiq Malik, Minister for Communication Asad Mahmood, and Advisor to PM on Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira, the Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said the committee would thoroughly investigate the matter and whatever finding, the case would be followed accordingly.

The federal cabinet was chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in which a subcommittee was constituted to fully investigate the amount of 50 billion rupees illegally transferred to the United Kingdom by housing society in the previous government.

Sanaullah said Hosing society had illegally transferred Rs50bn to a Pakistani national in the UK. The transfer was also acknowledged by the UK’s National Crime Agency, which subsequently informed the then PTI government of the crime.

Sanaullah claimed that Imran, the prime minister at the time, had tasked Shehzad Akbar, ex-PM’s aide on accountability, to resolve the matter. Akbar settled the entire case, while the Rs50bn, which was state property and belonged to the national treasury but was adjusted against housing society’s liability, the interior minister alleged.

He said the deal was made in return for “providing protection” to the real estate firm in a money laundering case during the PTI government.

He said a land of 458 kanal worth Rs530 million was also transferred by housing society to Al-Qadir Trust, the trustees of which are former prime minister Imran Khan and his spouse.

The agreement had the signatures of the real estate developer’s donors and Bushra Khan — the wife of former premier Imran, Sanaullah alleged.

The minister said that another 240 kanals were transferred to “Farah Shehzadi” — commonly known as Farah — a close friend of Bushra Bibi.

Sanaullah said this is the true face of Imran Khan who directly plundered the public money by getting his share in 50 billion rupees and provided relief to Bahria Town.

He said the impression created by [the PTI leaders] was that the land was meant for the construction of a university, but said that no charter for any varsity was approved by the Punjab Assembly.

“The cabinet has now made the document public and an inquiry will be conducted into it before the investigators proceed further,” the minister said.

On the same occasion, Minister of State for Petroleum Senator Dr Musadik Malik said the plundered money that was caught in the United Kingdom should have been returned to the national exchequer, however, it was gifted to one who actually was fined.

He elaborated that the money was caught under Economic Crimes Act and it should have been returned to the country it belongs to but instead an out-of-court settlement was done at a time when this case was being heard.

However, who represented Pakistan in the settlement was still a mystery, he said, adding that the country could only be represented by the attorney general of Pakistan or the Ministry of Law. No one else can sign any agreement, contract or do any other signature at the international level, he maintained.

He said, there was no document in the office of the Attorney General or the Ministry of Law that indicated somebody was given authority to go to England for the settlement.

He said, out of court settlement was done and the money that was to be given to the government of Pakistan, was deposited in the account of the Supreme Court registrar.

He said, for saving the out of court settlement, cabinet approval was sought in the matter and resultantly cabinet was forced to approve something which was hidden in a letter without allowing the members even to read it.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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