Sunday, March 26, 2023

AC issues arrest warrant for NAB witness in Paragon case


LAHORE: The accountability court’s judge Jawadul Hassan has issued arrest warrant for a witness of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) over absence in the hearing of Paragon housing society case against Khawaja brothers, ARY News reported on Tuesday.

An accountability court in Lahore heard the corruption reference related to Paragon housing society scandal against Khawaja brothers. Khawaja Saad Rafique and his sibling Khawaja Salman Rafique have appeared before the court in the hearing.

The judge ordered the NAB prosecutor to produce its witness. The prosecutor said that the witness, Aqsa, could not appear in the hearing as she was busy in a wedding ceremony of a family member.

Read: AC indicts Khawaja brothers in Paragon Housing Scheme reference

The judge expressed outrage over the absence of the NAB’s witness in the hearing. Judge Jawadul Hassan ordered the prosecutor to produce the witness today to record her statement. The court then adjourned the hearing for some time.

After resuming the hearing, the judge questioned the prosecutor about the witness. He responded that LDA has been apprised to ascertain the reasons behind the absence of NAB witness.

The judge remarked that the witness is seemingly unserious for appearing before the court, meanwhile, the NAB investigation officer has also failed to produce witnesses. He added that the proceedings are being delayed due to the absence of witnesses in the case.

Judge Hassan rejected the response of the NAB prosecutor regarding the witness’ absence and termed it unsatisfactory.

Read: CJP forms bench to hear Khawaja brothers bail plea in Paragon case

Later, the court issued an arrest warrant against the NAB witness, Aqsa, over her absence in the hearing and adjourned the hearing till December 18.

Paragon Housing scam

According to NAB, Saad Rafique in collusion with his wife Ghazala Saad Rafique Butt, brother Salman Rafique, Qaiser Amin Butt and Nadeem Zia had launched a housing project named Air Avenue, which was later renamed to Paragon City (Pvt) Ltd).

Saad Rafique, his brother Salman Rafique, Nadeem Zia, Umar Zia, and Farhan Ali were named accused in accountability reference comprising of 17 volumes.

Read: Khawaja brothers appear before NAB court in Paragon case

According to the reference, the Khawaja Saad Rafique, Khawaja Salman Rafique and Nadeem Zia owned 93.2 per cent shares in the Paragon Housing Society.

Besides, Saad Rafique acquired 40 kanals of land in his and his brother’s name, which he used to extend the project illegally and sold commercial plots worth billions of rupees.

It states that the former railway minister received monetary benefits to the tune of Rs58 million from the society whereas his brother Rs39 million.


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