Court to indict former president Asif Zardari in Thatta Water Supply reference on Aug 4

ISLAMABAD: Former president Asif Ali Zardari will be indicted in the Thatta Water Supply reference on August 4.

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The Thatta Water Supply is a supplementary reference part of the fake bank accounts and mega money-laundering scam reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the PPP leader.

The accountability court, during the hearing today, directed all the accused to appear on August 4.

Earlier this month the accountability court deferred Zardari’s indictment in Park Lane reference after the former president’s counsel Farooq H Naek requested the court for additional time to prepare for the case.

In an earlier hearing, the court had also deferred Zardari’s indictment in the Park Lane reference after his counsel submitted an application, seeking exemption of his client from appearance due to illness and the COVID-19 situation in the country.

What is the fake bank accounts case?

In October 2015, the anti-corruption wing of the Federal Investigation Agency in Karachi received a tip-off of suspicious intra-bank transactions from the Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and the United Bank Limited. The profiles of the account holders did not match their earnings/income. FIA authorities suspected that these accounts were being run by the Zardari Group and Omni Group, amongst others

The case dragged on until June 2018, when the Supreme Court took suo moto notice of the fake accounts and directed a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the matter.

The investigation team concluded that 32 fake bank accounts were being operated by 11 fake entities to launder money from “kickbacks, land grabbing and large scale misappropriation of public funds.”

Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, Hussain Lawai, the then-president Summit Bank, Nasser Abdullah Lootah, chairman Summit Bank, Chairman Omni Group Anwar Majid and his son are the prime suspects in the case.

The JIT also concluded from the investigation that the Omni Group had immensely benefited from the transactions. The investigation team stated that the group had a “startling and unprecedented (abnormal) growth 2009 onwards,” interestingly, after the PPP took power.

From 2008 to 2013, the company grew at a whopping 2,500% and added a total of 83 companies under its umbrella. The growth percentage fell to 142% after 2013 when the PPP lost the central government.

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