ISLAMABAD: A prosecution witness on Thursday produced documents regarding assessment of duties/taxes of three luxury vehicles gifted by United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Libya to the then president Asif Ali Zardar.
The National Accountability Bureau’s witness Ishtiaq Ahmed, former principal appraiser AFU Model Customs Collectorate while testifying before Accountability Court-III Judge Syed Asghar Ali in Toshakhana case involving former president Zardari, two former premiers Nawaz Sharif and Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani and others produced different documents regarding assessment of duties/taxes of three vehicles including BMW 750 Li model 2004, Toyota Lexus Jeep 472 model 2007 gifted by the embassy of UAE and BMW 760 LI model 2008 gifted by embassy of Libya.
At the start of the hearing, the consels for Zardari, Gillani and other accused filed separate applications seeking exemption of their clients from personal appearance before it, which the court approved.
The NAB had filed the Toshakhana reference against former president, two former prime ministers and others for allegedly acquiring three vehicles and gifts from Toshakhana – an official treasury where gifts from foreign dignitaries or heads of state are deposited – in violation of rules and regulations.
The witness said that he had appeared before NAB deputy director Muhammad Raheel at Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) building in the connection with investigation of three gifted three vehicles to the then president of Pakistan by the embassy of UAE and Libya.
“I was nominated by the competent authority to produce the record of assessment of duties/taxes of vehicles regarding three vehicles two from UAE and one from Libya,” he added.
He said that he produced the record before investigation officer (IO) pertaining to assessment of three gifted vehicles. The IO examined the record pertaining to BMW 750 LI model 2004, Toyota Lexus Jeep 472 model 2007 and BMW 760 LI model 2008, he said.
The witness said that the IO recorded his statement and prepared a seizure memo which he signed in the presence of two witnesses. The IO had returned the original record to him, he said.
The documents produced by the witness before the court includes photocopy of letter regarding from UAE to Rukhsana, secretary to president, regarding information of gifts of the two bullet proof vehicles gifted by the president UAE to president of Pakistan, office record copy dated September 24, 2008, written by the ambassador of UAE to the additional collector customs AFU Islamabad requesting for clearness of consignment, office record copy of letter dated September 24, 2008 written by ambassador of UAE to then president of Pakistan, office record copy of letter dated of cargo manifest along with details description of two gifted vehicles that is BMW and Lexus gifted by UAE and office record copy of market price evaluation by Toyota Islamabad for Toyota Lexus 470 reply to additional secretary.
The court adjourned the case and the witness will continue recording his statement during the next hearing to be held March 25.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021