Internal and Transparency Advisor to Prime Minister Mirza Shahzad Akbar said on Thursday that he had represented PML-N chief Uzma Bukhari on a TV show with a legal notice for “pass(ing) defamatory statements and rais(ing) false and absurd imputations” against him.
Bukhari had appeared on a show called Faisla Ap Ka aired on Aaj TV on Wednesday night, according to the note dated January 13, which Akbar posted on Twitter, where she passed “completely untrue and libellous defamatory statements” accusing the advisor of the premier of demanding a kickback from Kaveh Moussavi, owner of Broadsheet LLC.
Bukhari pointed to a recent Moussavi interview where he accused Nawaz Sharif, the supreme PML-N, of giving him a bribe in 2012 to drop a corruption investigation against him.
“Moussavi said Shahzad Akbar along with another person came to him (Moussavi) and [both] were asking for their cut,” the note quoted Bukhari as saying. This is a really interesting issue. They called for a cut for themselves, not for the country. They said, “What are you going to give us? We’re going to extend your contract.” This is a really significant assertion […] for a government office-bearer for the nation.
“Shahzad Akbar’s history of taking and giving briefcase is old […] and this is not an allegation.”
In a recent interview, a complete recording of which is available with Dharti News, Moussavi alleged that a person he met with Akbar in 2018 was more interested in getting his share than in pursuing suspects over a $1 billion bank account. However, the Broadsheet owner added that Akbar may not have been aware of the query about a commission from this guy.
In a statement to Dharti News, denying this, Akbar explained that he met Moussavi twice in 2019 and not in 2018. He said the context of his meetings was to discuss the price of the award and to decrease the amount payable. According to Akbar, Moussavi may be talking to someone he met separately in this interview.
In yesterday’s note to Bukhari, Akbar insisted that he was a “target of hateful media campaigns from members of the PML-N and other opposition parties” to “discourage him from the pro-active role he is playing in curbing corruption and ensuring accountability”
The note claimed that Moussavi had “stated at many occasions that [Akbar] is a man of integrity” “It added that in order to “sabotage the anti-corruption campaign” and confuse the media, Bukhari had levelled the allegations against Akbar.
Bukhari’s charge that he “misappropriates public funds […] and is involved in the offence of accepting and giving bribes” was also dismissed by the PM’s advisor. The note also confirmed that, as alleged by Bukhari, Akbar had never been the prosecutor general of the National Accountability Bureau.
Akbar requested that Bukhari remove her comments and give an apology or pay damages of Rs500 million. Akbar said in a tweet that funds received in compensation will go to charity.
Yesterday, in a press conference, the PM’s advisor also served a notice to PML-N spokeswoman Marriyum Aurangzeb for identical remarks. Akbar said in a tweet that Aurangzeb “has been asked to apologise or she will be taken to court”
Broadsheet LLC, a UK firm incorporated in the Pervez Musharraf period on the Isle of Man, helped track down foreign assets acquired by Pakistanis through suspected ill-gotten riches by the then government and newly created NAB.
Broadsheet maintains that it was set up to enter into an Asset Recovery Arrangement dated 20 June 2000 and did so through the chairman of the NAB with the then President of Pakistan for the purpose of retrieving funds and other properties fraudulently withdrawn from the state and other agencies, including through corrupt practises, and kept outside Pakistan.
The Broadsheet deal, signed in 2000 by Gen Muhammad Amjad, the NAB head named by Gen Pervez Musharraf, retained that 20 percent of the assets recovered would be earned by the company, with the rest going to NAB.
The contract granted Broadsheet the right to launch lawsuits or enforcement action found necessary on behalf of NAB to seize properties.
NAB and Broadsheet both decided to open a bank account which NAB and the corporation would collectively manage, and it was agreed that all the recovered money would be deposited into the account.
The contract further claimed that the contract was binding on the successors in dispute.
A lawyer affiliated with the firm previously told Dharti News that the “top target” of the Broadsheet probe was the Sharifs. The contract was cancelled by NAB in 2003.
But Broadsheet LLC received last month, as imposed by a UK judge, the transfer of $28.7 million from the accounts of the United Kingdom High Commission for the long-overdue payment of its services.