ISLAMABAD: The accountability court on Thursday approved an earlier request by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to freeze the assets of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
A request by Dar to spend Rs0.6 million monthly from the accounts for personal expenses was also rejected by the court.
All accounts belonging to Dar, except those operated by accountant general revenue, will be frozen after the court order.
The accountability court hearing a corruption case against Dar also ordered eearlier on Thursday that the bailable warrants against the minister would continue as he did not appear in court today.
As Judge Mohammad Bashir resumed proceedings in the assets reference case, neither Dar nor his lead counsel, Khawaja Harris, was present in court.
The minister was represented by secondary counsel Ayesha Hamid.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team, as well as four witnesses — all officials of various private banks — were present in court.
Dar’s counsel submitted the minister’s medical certificate in court and sought an exemption from appearance today. The minister’s guarantor informed the court that Dar is in London for medical treatment.
After NAB Prosecutor Imran Shafique opposed the request and sought non-bailable arrest warrants, the court reserved its decision on the plea.
The court later ruled against the exemption request, but did not issue non-bailable warrants and instead ordered that the bailable warrants, issued at the last hearing, would remain in effect.
Dar’s counsel informed the court that the minister’s detailed examination will be conducted on Friday after which his return date will be finalised.
The hearing was then adjourned until November 8.
During the hearing, NAB also submitted details of Dar’s assets to the court.
The NAB is seeking the court’s endorsement of its order to freeze Dar’s assets.
However, Hamid argued that the NAB cannot freeze assets after submission of a reference but the prosecution disagreed.
At the last hearing on October 30, the minister, accused by NAB of possessing assets that are disproportionate to his known sources of income, was a no-show as well.
The court had then issued bailable warrants for his arrest and sent a notice to the minister’s guarantor who has submitted the surety bond on his behalf.
The court, according to media reports, had also summoned the minister’s sons to appear today but they, too, were a no-show.
Ishaq Dar’s assets
The bureau froze the assets after its chairman ordered to do so on October 18 but it needs the court’s endorsement as according to NAB laws, the order is only valid for 15 days.
NAB is seeking the freezing of Dar’s six bank, properties and vehicles in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates as well as investments in both countries.
NAB has listed the properties and assets of Dar as follows: A house in Gulberg, Lahore, a two-kanal plot in Parliamentarians Enclave, Islamabad, a two-kanal plot with Ayaz Builders (Pvt) Ltd, a plot in Senate Cooperative Housing Society, Islamabad, a two kanal and 19 marla plot in the name of Mrs Tabassum Dar, three plots in Alflah Housing Society, Lahore owned by Dar, his wife and son Ali Mustafa Dar and six acres in Mouza Milot owned by him and his wife.
In the list of foreign properties and assets, the NAB mentioned a flat in Emirates Hills Dubai, owned by Dar, an apartment in Palm Jumairah Dubai, a 2003 Bentley Arnage car, a 2006 Mercedez, two sets of shares/investment in Baraq Holdings (Pvt) Ltd and shares/investments in Al-Nahayan owned by Ishaq Dar.
The list of cars in Pakistan include a 2004 Land Cruiser owned by Mrs Dar, a 1999 Land Cruiser, a 2004 Toyota Corolla, a 1998 Mercedez Benz, a 2008 Mercedez and a 2014 Land Cruiser.
Moreover, Dar and his wife have made an investment of Rs3,453,060 in Hajveri Holdings (Pvt) Ltd and Rs2,700 shares by in Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd.
NAB, in its application, has informed the court of serious apprehensions that the accused, his dependents/benamidars might dispose of, alienate, sell, create charge or change the status of the properties/investments.