KARACHI - An accountability court on Saturday issued non-bailable warrants for arrest of former minister for ports and shipping Babar Ghori in a corruption reference pertaining to illegal appointments to Karachi Port Trust (KPT).

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed a reference against illegal appointments in the KPT against eight accused, including Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Babar Ghori, former KPT chairperson Javed Hanif, Rauf Akthar Farooqui, former director of Gwadar Port, Seras Ahmed, Muhammad Sharif, Muhammad Iqbal and Ameer Ali Brhoi.

NAB alleged that the accused persons in connivance with each other had illegally regularised 940 employees, causing Rs2.8bn loss to the national exchequer.

NAB has submitted the corruption reference to the administrative judge who approved the reference and referred it to the trail court.

After approval of the reference, the court issued NWB against the suspects and directed the NAB to arrest the accused and produce them in the court by September 22.

Earlier, the NAB officials have informed that court that the former federal minister Babar Ghauri was declared an absconder in the case, as he failed attending NAB inquiry.

In the reference, the NAB has leveled charges of corruption, misuse of authority and 940 illegal appointments against the nominated accused.

According to NAB, the former KPT chairperson played, along with Ghauri, a direct role in the illegal appointments that were made against the KPT rules and regulations without any advertisement.

It has also been alleged that many people who were illegally appointed in the KPT were criminals. The appointments reportedly caused the national exchequer a loss of billions of rupees.

The NAB stated that during Ghauri’s tenure, about 1,200 people were illegally appointed in Karachi Port Trust (KPT), wherein 125 grade 17 officers were also hired. However, all the appointees were hired in one night, the reference stated.

Ghauri, who is currently out of country, was summoned to come with records on January 25, last year, but he avoided appearing in this regard, thus, he was issued red notice as well.

Earlier, the inquiry against Ghori was initiated after corruption allegations were leveled against him.

Ghori’s own party leader, Amir Khan had leveled corruption allegations on him by alleging that he (Ghori) owns properties of millions of dollars in American, owns 31 petrol pumps here in Karachi. Khan had also alleged that Ghori has run away after looting from here.