NAB summons property tycoon Malik Riaz, threatening to unravel £190mn mystery

ISLAMABAD: Real estate tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain has been served with a call-up from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). 

According to the details, he has been asked to appear before a combined investigation team of the accountability watchdog at 11 00 AM on the 1st of December at NAB’s offices in the federal capital.

The case due to which he has been summoned goes all the way back to 2019, and involves accusations of bribery, corruption, and kickbacks against the government of former prime minister Imran Khan. 

In 2019, the National Crime Agency (NCA) of the United Kingdom agreed to a settlement worth £190 million with the family of property tycoon Malik Riaz. The settlement was the largest ever in the history of the NCA, and since it was out of court, came with the stipulation that it did not “represent a finding of guilt”.

On Dec 5, 2019, Mr. Akbar announced at a press conference in Islamabad that £140m had been repatriated to Pakistan, into the Supreme Court’s account. When asked how the money could be transferred to the SC account, he deflected the question saying that the government, NCA and Mr Riaz had signed a “deed of confidentiality” which prevented him from elaborating on the matter.

Essentially, the accusation is that the £140m that was repatriated to Pakistan after Shahzad Akbar’s intervention with the NCA on behalf of Malik Riaz went straight back into the bank account of the property tycoon. 

After coming to power, the incumbent PDM government accused former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi of accepting billions in cash and hundreds of kanals of land from Bahria Town in return for the help that Khan’s government gave to Riaz during his investigation by the NCA. Interior minister Rana Sanaullah claimed that Bahria Town entered an agreement and gave a 458-kanal land with an on-paper value of Rs 530 million to a trust owned by Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi. The land was donated to Al-Qadir Trust, and the agreement bore signatures of the real estate’s donors and Bushra Bibi. 

Sanaullah claimed that Imran’s aide Shehzad Akbar had “settled” the entire case, while the Rs 50 billion-which belonged to the national treasury-was adjusted against Bahria Town’s liability. He said Imran had received a graft of Rs 5 billion as “his share” through Akbar before the case was wrapped. He further said that Bahria Town, after its Rs 50 billion was protected by the then PTI government, had allotted 458 Kanal land with an on-paper value of Rs 530 million to a trust owned by Imran and his wife. He further said that another 240 Kanals were transferred to “Farah Shehzadi” commonly known as Farah-a close friend of Bushra Bibi.

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