A meeting of the cabinet committee has been called on Thursday to look in the recovery of Rs41 billion which was to be repatriated to Pakistan following a deal between the family of property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain and the UK’s premier anti-money laundering watchdog, the National Crime Agency (NCA), SAMAA TV reported.
The meeting, headed by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, will be attended by ministers of finance, law, interior and communication; governor State Bank; attorney general and secretaries of cabinet, foreign ministry and interior.
“A meeting of the cabinet committee regarding ‘Accounts Freezing Orders (AFOS) and Repatriation of Funds to Pakistan in Mr. Ahmed Ali Riaz & Family and Messrs Bahria Town (Private) Limited’ under the chairmanship of Minister of Defence will be held on June 30,2022,” reads a notification issued by the cabinet division.
The committee will look into how the money was repatriated to Pakistan and how they were utilized.
The committee was formed in a meeting of the federal cabinet on June 14. The contents of the confidential deal between the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) and property magnate Malik Riaz’s family were presented before the cabinet through the report of the Asset Recovery Unit (ARU). After deliberation, the federal cabinet has decided to publicize the deal.
Addressing the media after the meeting, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had claimed that the former accountability adviser Shahzad Akbar allegedly took a Rs5 billion kickback to give the money back to the private housing society Bahria Town.
He said the UK authorities had confiscated this huge sum after tracing it and approached the Pakistani authorities but Akbar settled the matter.
Cabinet kept in the dark
Talking on SAMAA TV’s program Nadeem Malik Live, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal termed the deal as a mega scandal.
Narrating what they have come to know, Iqbal said that the cabinet meeting apparently got over and ex-prime minister Imran Khan waved an envelope and said, “This has to be approved”.
He added that a PTI female minister questioned what was inside the envelope that was required to be approved because the summary was not brought before the cabinet. To this, Iqbal stated that Imran Khan said that it was not necessary for them [cabinet members] to know about it and went on to say that the document must be considered ‘approved’.
Later, the minister said that Imran Khan issued an order to the cabinet secretary to keep the envelope sealed unless the court asks for it.
Iqbal said they were surprised to learn the contents when the multifold sealed envelope was de-sealed.
He added that the note inside the envelope said that it was public money that would be transacted to the national exchequer. However, at the time of the disposal, it was transferred in the name of a private individual under a secret agreement and the settlement record was presented before the Supreme Court.
To a question, he said that the PTI also hoaxed the top court in the matter and demanded that the court should take suo moto of it.