NAB discovers ‘treasure’ in Balochistan

| Arrests finance secy who ‘embezzled’ billions

2016-05-07T02:51:30+05:00 Agencies

QUETTA - NAB on Friday recovered an unbelievingly huge treasure from the house of Balochistan Finance Secretary Mushtaq Ahmed Raisani, who was arrested earlier in the day from his office on corruption charges.

Raisani has been accused of embezzling billions of rupees from local government development funds and Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) since 2013, officials of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) said.

Bags full of local and foreign currency, huge cache of gold, prize bonds – all valuing around Rs730 million – and documents of property in different parts of the country were recovered from the place.

Provincial spokesman of NAB said that following intelligence information and investigation into the embezzlement case, NAB Balochistan conducted raid at Finance Department at Civil Secretariat and arrested Mushtaq Raisnai.

He said that Mr Raisani, who was suspended soon after this development, told NAB Investigation team during the interrogation that the embezzled money was hided at his house.

"The NAB team then raided the house of Mr Raisani and recovered local and foreign currency worth over Rs600 million and gold worth Rs10 million," he said. He added that US dollars, British Pounds and Saudi Riyal were also recovered from the residence of the finance secretary.

According to sources, the currency notes were so much in number that the bureau had to employ three counting machines for the purpose. They said the raiding team also confiscated papers of property some of which are believed to be fake.

The finance department was sealed earlier during the NAB raid while officials searched all rooms to sift through records, sources said, adding that records of the finance department were also seized for further investigation.

The workers of the department protested over the raid and raised intense slogans against NAB.

After a string of arrests in Sindh, this is the first high profile arrest made by the accountability body in Balochistan during the PML-N government's term as it seeks to unearth corruption worth billions of rupees in the provincial finance department's development funds.

NAB spokesman said that more raids were being conducted to arrest other accused involved in the massive financial corruption.

Raisani, an influential bureaucrat in Balochistan, has served as secretary finance for the last few years. He served in same position during the PPP government's term.

After this episode, Balochistan government announced suspension of Mushtaq Raisani in a late night notification, saying he was suspended following his arrest by NAB. Interior Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani has been given additional charge of the finance department.

Balochistan government spokesperson told media that the provincial government will fully cooperate with federal agency during investigation against Raisani.

On the other hand, Adviser to Chief Minister on Finance Khalid Lango has also resigned from his post following Raisani’s arrest.

Addressing a hurriedly called press conference at Quetta Press Club late Friday night, he said his party high command asked him to tender resignation to ensure transparent inquiry of the matter.

"Following instructions of National Party chief Mir Hasil Khan Bezinjo and former chief minister and senior leader of the party, Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, I decided to resign from my office," he said.

"The allegations of financial embezzlement were leveled against finance secretary and not against me," he clarified.

Lango added that the provincial government shall facilitate NAB in the investigation of the case. He stated that the government is against the “cancer of corruption”. He expressed provincial government’s utmost faith in NAB and other democratic institutions.

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