Jakarta deal: Musharraf likely to face parliamentary scrutiny

ISLAMABAD: Former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf is likely to face parliamentary scrutiny for allegedly protecting an ambassador appointed during his tenure against serious corruption charges.

A senior officer of the National Accountability Bureau told the Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday that Maj Gen (retd) Mustafa Quraishi was ambassador of Pakistan to Indonesia in February 2002, and he had sold the Chancery building in Jakarta in a non-transparent deal.

The PAC summoned the director general of NAB Rawalpindi chapter on Thursday (today) to apprise the committee of the inquiry into the sale of properties in Jakarta and Tokyo.

The meeting held with Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah in the chair reviewed the audit paras of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistan’s missions abroad for 2010-11.

The director general audit told the committee that in Feb 2002, Pakistan’s ambassador to Indonesia had sold the Chancery building at a cost of $1.32 million in a non-transparent manner and without advertisement in the press for competitive bidding or inviting sealed bids.

The NAB officials, present in the meeting, did not reveal the exact volume of embezzlement, but said misconduct was established in this particular case. The officials were replying to queries raised by PTI’s Shafqat Mahmood and Dr Arif Alvi.

“I do acknowledge that all the points raised in the report are valid and … deal was struck in a non-transparent manner,” said the then foreign secretary Salman Bashir.

During the committee proceedings on Wednesday the incumbent foreign affairs secretary Aizaz Chaudhry also supported his predecessor’s stance, saying “it was very clear case of corruption”.

According to an inquiry report prepared in 2011 by a ministerial committee, headed by Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, the property was disposed of in a non-transparent manner, without advertisement and even the ambassador entered into a binding sale agreement with the buyer without the ministry’s approval.

The Khursheed Shah-led committee summoned top officials of the Foreign Office and anti-graft watchdog to apprise the committee of progress in these cases.

Dubious Tokyo deal

It is alleged that the Foreign Office had sold the embassy building in Tokyo in 2007, under a swap arrangement on single evaluation causing a loss of 6.3 billion yen. The evaluation company was chosen without advertisement, the purchase offer was a single offer.

According to the report the inter-ministerial committee also approved the bid. Reportedly, the then Chaudhry Nisar-led PAC had stopped short of fixing responsibility on the then-ambassador to Tokyo Kamran Nayaz, the former secretary foreign affairs Mohammad Riaz Khan, former special secretary foreign affairs Sher Afgan and the then secretary housing and works and additional secretary finance.

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