ISLAMABAD: An accountability court in Islamabad has issued non-bailable arrest warrants of a co-accused Farooq Awan in Universal Services Fund (USF) corruption reference against ex-PM Yousaf Raza Gillani and others.
The accountability court’s judge Azam Khan heard the corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in September 2018 against the former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani and others over allegedly misusing authority in an illegal publicity campaign that caused loss to the national exchequer.
The NAB prosecutor Usman Masood appeared before the court today, whereas, the counsels of Gillani, former personal assistant to the public relations officer IT Muhammad Hanif, ex-principal information officer Muhammad Saleem submitted their exemption pleas. However, the other lawyers did not appear in the hearing due to a strike.
The court issued non-bailable arrest warrants of former Ministry of IT secretary Farooq Awan due to his continuous absence. The accountability court later adjourned the hearing till March 30.
The anti-corruption watchdog Rawalpindi office had filed a corruption reference against ex-PM Yousuf Raza Gillani, former Ministry of IT secretary Farooq Awan, former USF chief executive officer (CEO) Riaz Asher Siddiqui and others for misusing powers for running an illegal publicity campaign through a Lahore-based advertising agency M/S Midas Private Limited.
Midas CEO Inam Akbar, former USF company secretary Syed Hasan Shikoh, and former personal assistant to the public relations officer IT Muhammad Hanif are also among the accused in the corruption reference.According to the NAB, the accused had caused a loss of Rs128.07 million to the national exchequer by running illegally awarding an advertising contract in violation of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules.