LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday authorised an inquiry against Farah Khan, a close friend of former prime minister Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi, on allegations of accumulating “illegal assets beyond known sources of income, money laundering, and maintaining various accounts in the name of businesses”.
The corruption watchdog has directed NAB DG Lahore to initiate an inquiry against her as per the law. In a statement, NAB had said a “huge turnover amounting to Rs847 million has been found in [Farah Khan’s] account during the last three years, which does not commensurate with (sic) her stated account profile,” NAB said in a statement.
According to a press release issued by NAB, “huge turnover amounting to Rs847 million was found in her [bank] account during the last three years” which it said is not commensurate with her stated account profile.
“These credits were received in her personal account and withdrawn immediately after credit within a short time period,” it stated, noting that several “adverse” media reports had been found where Farah — referred to in the statement as Farhat Shahzadi (Alias Farah Khan) — was alleged of “being involved in [acquiring] assets beyond legal means”.
NAB also said that in a review of Farah’s income tax returns, it was observed that her assets “significantly increased” from 2018 onwards “for unknown reasons”.
“Moreover, she has been frequently travelling to foreign jurisdictions; nine times to the USA and six times to the UAE,” it added.
Last month, at a gathering of the opposition alliance, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz had first alleged that a friend of the PTI chairman’s wife received a huge sum of money for getting officers transferred and posted according to their choice.
“I dare to name Farah, a friend of Bushra Bibi who is involved in receiving millions of rupees in transfers and postings and these are directly connected to Banigala (residence of Imran Khan),” Maryam had said.
“The mother of all scandals of transfers and postings amounting to Rs6 billion is related to Banigala. In the coming days, startling evidence will surface. Imran Khan has fears that once he is out of power his ‘thefts’ will be exposed,” she had claimed.
Subsequently, amid the allegations, Dawn reported that Farah had left for Dubai on April 5. Her husband had reportedly left the country already.
Reference against Miftah Ismail, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi approved
Separately, the watchdog approved a supplementary reference against former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and his son Abdullah Khaqan Abbasi.
It said that the aforementioned persons were accused of awarding the LNG Terminal-1 contract through “non-transparent sources”.
“The accused public office holders misused their authorities in active connivance with each other to give wrongful gains of Rs14.146 billion to EETL/ETPL/ECL in connection with LNG Terminal-1 of EETL and also caused a wrongful loss of Rs7.438 billion (approximately) for non-utilisation of unused capacity of 2nd LNG Terminal of PGPL from March 2015 till September 2019,” the statement said.
The watchdog alleged that from 2013 to 2017, unexplained deposits of over Rs2 billion were received in Abbasi and his son’s accounts, during which the LNG deal was stuck.
“By concealing the origin of above said deposits and layering, the accused also committed offence of money laundering,” NAB added.
Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, former Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL) chairman Sheikh Imran ul Haq, ex-CEO of Engro Elengy Terminal Private Limited Agha Jan Akhtar, ex-chairman of Port Qasim Authority Saeed Ahmed Khan, former chairman of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) Aamir Naseem, chairperson OGRA Shahid M. Islam, and former managing director of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) were also named in the reference.
Farah Khan and her family
Farah Khan and her family’s riches ballooned during the PTI tenure, The News reported Tuesday, citing documents that revealed that Farah and her husband, Ahsan Iqbal Jameel, exchanged gifts and loans worth millions of rupees in the said period.
The documents suggest that the exponential growth of the assets does not correspond to the declared source(s) of income and both Khan and Jameel were the alleged beneficiaries of the scheme for whitening black money during PTI’s stint in power.
The husband and wife had declared Rs20 million and Rs328.7 million respectively, under the Tax Amnesty Scheme 2019.
The two were not the only luckiest people whose assets grew exponentially as Farah’s sister, Musarrat Khan was also found in possession of 15 residential plots (five marlas each) in the Lahore Development Authority City and three residential plots (two kanals each) in Defence Housing Authority, Lahore, which she bought during PTI regime.