FIA asked to probe PTI funds obtained through employees’ accounts

Umar Cheema
Friday, Aug 05, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Founding member Akbar S. Babar has formally approached the Federal Investigation Agency for initiating a probe against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf for receiving funds through accounts opened in the name of junior employees. In an application he sent on Wednesday, Babar said he had demanded this investigation in 2016 and 2017 but it fell on deaf ears of the agency.

The PTI’s financial board in 2011 illegally authorized four employees of the party’s central secretariat to collect donations in their personal accounts from within Pakistan and abroad, he wrote to the FIA DG. The practice is verified and documented in the verdict of the foreign funding case against the PTI. A sum of Rs11.104 million was deposited in the accounts of the PTI employees which was beyond their known sources of income.

In view of the gravity of the crime committed by the party leadership and four employees, his letter reads, all legal actions appropriate under law may be initiated. The funds were received through the accounts of employees: Tahir Iqbal, Muhammad Nauman Afzal, Muhammad Arshad and Muhammad Rafiq. Babar had also written in 2016 and 2017 for an inquiry into the matter but the PML-N government at the time didn’t pay attention to it.

As for the account details, Iqbal received Rs4.715 million when his monthly income was Rs28,000. Afzal received Rs0.893 million into his account when his monthly salary was approximately Rs35,000. Arshad received Rs0.840 million whereas his monthly salary was approximately Rs42,000. In yet another account operated by him, a sum of Rs0.959 was received. The highest amount was received in the account of Rafiq who was a peon. A sum of Rs4.725 million was deposited into his account when his monthly salary was Rs23,000. In another account, Rs2.379 million was deposited.

Babar in athe past had forced the PTI leadership into conducting the audit of the accounts which had validated his concerns. No proper record of donations was maintained and money was instead stashed into the private accounts of the four employees. The audit was conducted for the period from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2012. It was completed by the end of 2013.

The auditors noted at the beginning of the report: “It is worth mentioning that during the performance of our field work, we were not allowed to take photocopies of bank statements along with other data including financial statements with us. These were shown to us but no record was allowed to be retained by us.” It was after this audit that Babar had approached the FIA in 2016 for a probe into the matter.