NAB should initiate probe over WSJ report regarding kickbacks offer in K-Electric stake sale: Asad Umar
ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar on Wednesday said that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) should launch an inquiry after a US newspaper’s story alleged that Abraaj co-founder offered $20million to secure Sharif brothers’ cooperation in the sale of firm’s stake in K-Electric.
Speaking exclusively to ARY News, the finance minister said that NAB should investigate the matter and bring culprits to book.
“Normally NAB investigates such matters and in current circumstances, you know if we (the government) start investigating it through FIA, they (the Sharif brothers) may also call it (the inquiry) a political witch-hunt,” said Umar.
“If you ask me, I will urge PM Imran Khan to request NAB to initiate an inquiry in this matter,” he added.
The WSJ report
It is pertinent to note here that US based newspaper Wall Street Journal reported that Abraaj’s co-founder offered to pay $20million to a Pakistani businessman in the year 2016 to to secure cooperation of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the sale of firm’s stake in K-Electric.
In a report documenting Abraaj’s fall, the newspaper reported earlier this week that in the year 2016, Abraaj was looking to sell its stake in K-Electric, the electricity provider to Karachi so the firm’s co-founder Arif Naqvi tried to secure the cooperation of then-prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and his brother Shehbaz, offering a $20 million payment to businessman Navaid Malik for his help.
The report cites an October 2015 email to Abraaj co-founder Arif Naqvi from partner Omar Lodhi in which Navaid Malik said that Shehbaz was “willing to give a strong endorsement” of the deal to Chinese bidders.
“Mr. Malik said it was “important for him to share every detail with the brothers and get their blessings as well as their instructions as to how this money should be distributed,” such as “a portion to charity” or “a portion to the election fund kitty,” Mr. Lodhi wrote in the email.
The report claims that when Naqvi emailed Lodhi about the $20 million contract for Navaid Malik in June 2016, he wrote, “This document is explosive in the wrong hands.” Abraaj and K-Electric shouldn’t be named in the document, he wrote: “Keep it generic.”
Shehbaz Sharif, Nawaz Sharif and Abraaj co-founder Arif Naqvi have denied that they were involved in corruption.