National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President Saeed Ahmed on Wednesday moved an application in the Islamabad’s accountability court seeking acquittal in the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) reference related to the assets of former finance minister Ishaq Dar.
Ahmed was nominated as a co-accused in the reference and was charged with opening up accounts which were allegedly used for money laundering by Dar.
Ahmed, through his counsel Hashmat Habib, filed an application under Section 265-D of the Criminal Procedure Code. Under the section, a judge can acquit an accused at any stage of trial.
The petition stated that the prosecution has levelled three allegations under different sub-sections of Section 9 of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 which is related to corruption, corrupt practices, abatement and misuse of authority.
It pointed out that the court has already dropped the charge of corruption and corrupt practices against the accused.
The petitioner further stated that, “the reference also does not mention the ingredients that constitute the aforesaid offences or provide the example of misuse of authority.”
According to the petition, the allegations levelled against the NBP president pertaining to misuse of authority could not be substantiated by any witness that the prosecution had produced so far, adding: “Thus this is a case fit to be discharged and the applicant is entitled to an acquittal.”
The petition said that even if the prosecution’s story is taken as the gospel truth, there is no probability of conviction in this matter and the case against Ahmed would amount to wastage of the court’s precious time and is also causing continuous agony to the applicant — which is a violation of Article 10S of the Constitution.
The petitioner requested that the court acquit him from the reference to secure the end of justice.
Accountability judge Mohammad Bashir issued a notice to NAB and sought its response on the matter.
The NBP president had moved the court with a similar application in March, and had claimed that the reference against himself had been filed on the basis of assumption which — as per the understanding of NAB — amounted to aiding and abetting the offence.
In its reference, the bureau claimed that “during the course of investigation, it was revealed that accused Saeed Ahmed was one of the directors of Hajveri Modaraba Management Company and 7,000 shares in Hajveri Holding (Pvt) Limited were also transferred in his favour from the wife of principal accused (Mohammad Ishaq Dar)”.
The reference alleged that seven bank accounts were opened in the name of Saeed Ahmed which, as per an investigation conducted by NAB, were prima facie used for the benefit of accused (Ishaq Dar) and his companies.
According to NAB, Ahmed had intentionally allowed the accused to open/operate/use bank accounts in his name to protect his ill-gotten money.