Shahzad Akbar misled cabinet on deal with UK’s NCA, says Vawda

ISLAMABAD   –        Estranged PTI leader Faisal Vawda on Thursday said that ex-accountability czar Mirza Shahzad Azbar had misled former prime minister Imran Khan’s cabinet about the ‘confidential’ agreement between the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) and property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain regarding repatriation of assets worth 190 million British pounds (Rs 50 billion). He further said that former advisor to the prime minister on accountability Akbar had taken the then cabinet into confidence about the deal and some “wrong” was got committed by the highest forum of the then federal government led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). “The cabinet always makes decisions on majority,” he said and agreed that he was part of that “controversial” approval. Speaking to journalists outside the regional office of National Accountability Bureau (NAB), former federal minister for water resources Vawda said that he had shown his reservations in the meeting over the approval of the deal between the NCA and Malik Riaz. The bureau had summoned the former close aide to Chairman PTI Khan in a case regarding the approval of cabinet for transferring £190 million into the account of family members of Bahria Town owner Malik Riaz from the UK. Last month, Vawda had made some controversial claims about the mysterious killing of renowned journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya, which were contrary to the narrative of his party – PTI. Subsequently, the party revoked his basic membership after he was issued a show cause notice. Earlier, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had accused Akbar, Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi of accepting Rs 5 billion and hundreds of kanals from Malik Riaz in return for approving the controversial deal. Vawda said that then federal ministers including Dr Shireen Mazari and Fawad Chaudhry and he had raised questions over the deal. “A story was presented (before the cabinet) and the way it was told, all the ministers and Khan accepted it as they were satisfied with it.” He also claimed that Akbar must have gotten some “benefit” for proceeding with the deal adding that “such things never happen for free.” He said that the Pakistani government and the treasury surely suffered a loss of £190 million as a result of this agreement. “There is no second opinion,” he said. Vawda claimed that he had warned ex-premier Khan that Akbar would run out of the country after he exchanged hot words with the former accountability adviser in one of the cabinet meetings. “And this is exactly what happened.” He said that it was either strength or weakness of people that PTI chief Khan used to trust people unnecessarily. “I would give the benefit that Khan trusts people but lobbies continued to play for their own interest.

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