The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has called upon Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and his spouse, Bushra Bibi, to appear on June 7 about an investigation into a £190 million case concerning the transfer of funds from the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) account.
Details indicate that the NAB’s Rawalpindi division has requested the former first lady to give her statement as a trustee of the Al-Qadir University Trust. Meanwhile, the ex-Prime Minister has been called in by the Bureau’s combined investigation team (CIT) for further inquiry.
Sources suggest that the CIT was not satisfied with the response from the PTI leader during his previous appearance before the NAB Rawalpindi on May 23. As a result, the former premier has been asked to provide a detailed response to a questionnaire presented to him on the same date.
The NAB, an independent body focused on corruption, is required by law to clarify the capacity in which the summoned individual is being called, whether as an accused or a witness.
In line with this process, the NAB’s CIT has already recorded statements from previous government ministers and requested records of all donations received by the Al-Qadir University Trust.
Notably, the PTI chief was granted bail until June 19 in this corruption case by an accountability court, following a directive from the Islamabad High Court.
NAB officials have clarified that while the former first lady’s arrest is unnecessary for the case, she is expected to cooperate with investigations when summoned.
Background of the case In 2019, the UK government discovered an enormous £140 million in an account owned by a prominent Pakistani property magnate’s son and his wife. The NCA promptly froze the funds due to suspicions of criminal activity.
Neither the account owner nor his wife contested the freeze. However, following legal proceedings, the UK government returned the funds to Pakistan in 2019.
This case was presented to Pakistan’s federal cabinet in December 2019 by a then-special assistant to the Prime Minister, Mirza Shahzad Akbar, to discuss the repatriation of funds to an account under the supervision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s registrar.
The account in question was related to a whopping Rs460 billion recovery from the same real estate tycoon, linked to penalties for a housing scheme in Karachi.
Investigations have revealed that the property tycoon offered a substantial compensation package as part of an agreement to return the laundered money. This included transferring land in Jhelum and cash totaling Rs285 million to the Al-Qadir Trust.
The trustees of the Al-Qadir Trust included Imran Khan, Bushra Bibi, and senior advisors Zulfiqar Bukhari and Babar Awan. However, Awan and Bukhari’s roles were rescinded on April 22, 2020.