Pak assets abroad could be seized in corruption cases, says scribe
A Pakistani journalist has warned people in Islamabad who are unnerved by the corruption of civil-military bureaucrats that Pakistan’s assets abroad could be seized in other graft cases, including one involving Roosevelt Hotel in New York.
In an opinion piece, Najam Sethi has said that Islamabad must get ready for a “meltdown” when Pakistani assets abroad are sized including the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) owned Roosevelt Hotel, which is embroiled in Reko Diq case.
Sethi said that the Manhattan-based hotel has been awarded nearly USD 7 billion in damages for breach of contract.
“If we are alarmed by the level of incompetence and corruption of civil-military bureaucrats and lawyers in the Broadsheet case, get ready for a meltdown when Pakistani assets abroad, including the Roosevelt hotel owned by PIA, are seized and encashed by Tethyan Copper Company in the Reko Diq case which has been awarded nearly USD7 billion in damages for breach of contract,” Sethi wrote.
This comes as Islamabad is considering injecting USD 35.58 million as a second bailout package for the Roosevelt Hotel. Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet had discussed setting up a panel to provide this bailout package for the property.
In September last year, the panel approved USD 142 million to cater to the immediate financial needs of the hotel. This sum was arranged as a loan from the National Bank of Pakistan.
The Broadsheet LLC case details the entire saga from the NAB’s establishment to the signing and — three years later — rescinding the agreement with Broadsheet, a breach of contract, illegal payments from Pakistan to wrong entities; and all that led the court to ascertain that the anti-corruption body was involved in intentional wrongdoings.
The Broadsheet LLC, based in the Isle of Man, was hired by the NAB during Musharraf’s regime to trace out hidden assets of Pakistanis in foreign countries. NAB signed an agreement with the Broadsheet but terminated it in 2003.
Former prime minister and senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday said that the sooner Pakistan decides to do away with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the better.
Referring to the Broadsheet LLC scandal and criticising the country’s accountability watchdog for the “corruption therein” Abbasi said that the sooner the state decides to abolish the bureau, the better it would be for the country.