The UK government has shared details of a secret deal between M/s Bahria Town Pvt Ltd and the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) with Pakistan.
This development is a blow to the PTI and Imran Khan, who are trying to keep the deal secret and have gone to court against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The PTI Government on behalf of Pakistan has signed the “Deed of Confidentiality” agreement between the NCA and M/s Bahria Town Pvt Ltd, official documents revealed by SAMAA TV’s first investigation unit.
The documents also reveal that the PTI government authorized Mirza Shahzad Akbar, then head of the Asset Recovery Unit, to sign the said agreement on behalf of the State of Pakistan.
A confidential government communication sent by the Foreign Office confirms that the UK’s International Corruption Unit (ICU) sent an official copy of the deal to Pakistan earlier this month.
According to a letter written by Ubaid ur Rehman Nizamani, Director General Europe-I in Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s office, MOFA received on its two official email accounts the emails and attached documents allegedly from the International Wrestling Unit. against corruption of the NCA of the United Kingdom.
“The email states: ‘Please find attached a copy of the confidentiality deed signed by the Government of Pakistan regarding the NCA settlement with the Riaz family in 2019,'” Nizamani’s letter read.
The content of the emails sent from the UK shows where the information came from.
“This information is provided in confidence by the NCA. The NCA is not listed as a public authority under the Freedom of Information Act 2000,” reads the International Anti-Corruption Unit email sent to Pakistani MOFA.
The “Confidentiality Deed” agreement contains the details of foreign accounts and offshore properties of the city of Bahria, a Pakistani government official told SAMAA TV.
Ahmad Ali Malik, Malik Riaz Hussain, Bina Malik, Mubbashira Malik and different offshore and commercial companies were parties to this agreement.
Tries to keep the deal a secret
The documents provided to the British government answer a major question: who signed the agreement on behalf of Pakistan when the PTI was in power?
“The Government of Pakistan hereby warrants to the NCA and the Respondents [Ali Riaz Malik, Bahria Town, Malik Riaz Hussain, Bina Malik, Mubashara Malik, etc.] that Mirza Shahzad Akbar is duly authorized to execute the deed for and on behalf of the Government of Pakistan,” the official said citing the contents of the deed.
A press release from the NCA at the time of the settlement said the settlement was valued at £190m (around Rs 50bn at the time) and was the result of an investigation by the NCA into the tycoon of Real estate Malik Riaz Hussain.
“In August 2019, eight account freezing orders were obtained from Westminster Magistrates’ Court in relation to funds totaling approximately £120million. These followed a previous freezing order in December 2018 linked to the same investigation for £20million. All of the account freezing orders relate to money held in UK bank accounts.
The money was collected in Bahria Town by British authorities and sent to Pakistan, but the PTI government reportedly returned it to Bahria Town.
The PDM government under PML-N announced this month that it would investigate how the money was returned to Baharia town and hinted that it would release the details to the public.
Kingsley Napley, the law firm representing Bahria Town had responded to the PML-N government’s announcement saying that the Pakistani government was violating the agreement.
On Wednesday, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) asked the Prime Minister’s office on Wednesday for the dossier of the Bahria Town-NCA deal.