Ex-NAB Chief opens up regarding Broadsheet scandal

1250
London:
  • Lt Gen (retd) Syed Amjad alleges Broadsheet used information provided by NAB against targets mentioned by Pakistan.
  • The ex-NAB chief says NAB prosecutor general’s son was working for one of the partners of Broadsheet.
  • Broadsheet did zero to bring back resources looted from Pakistan, says Gen (r) Amjad. 

Broadsheet LLC did completely nothing to pay back ‘looted’ assets to Pakistan, and twisted and distorted about its abilities to do so, according to the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) former chairman, retired Gen Syed Amjad, who had approved the contract with Broadsheet LLC on account of NAB.

The Broadsheet agreement was approved without necessary approvals being taken from the appropriate ministries, and a son of the NAB prosecutor general at the time, Farouk Adam Khan, later quietly worked for a Broadsheet partner.

Numerous pages of correspondence between NAB and American asset recovery firm Trouvons (which following set up Broadsheet LLC in the Isle of Man), several court documents, and Gen Amjad’s statement before Sir Anthony Evans, the arbitration judge at the London High Court (LHC), reveal the extent of the absurdities, disorganisation, and miscommunication involved in the whole saga.

Gen Amjad claimed  “did next to nothing concrete to assist NAB in receiving assets outside Pakistan through their investigations”, failed to provide NAB with any useful information, and “failed to repatriate any assets back to Pakistan”.

Under the conceived Agreement, NAB would have been liable for prosecuting targets inside Pakistan and Broadsheet would be mandated to trace, find and repatriate assets back to Pakistan and receive 20% commission on repatriated assets at no additional cost to Pakistan.

According to Gen Amjad, Broadsheet failed to provide “the type of proofs of foreign assets” that Pakistan needed to successfully prosecute targeted individuals.

Gen Amjad also told the arbitration judge that the people at Broadsheet “were certainly not providing the level of assistance that we had been led to believe they would”.

Deceptive portrayals

Court papers prove that in October 1999, Gen Amjad became informed of GSA Investment Corporation and Trouvons through Tariq Fawad Malik and Ghazanfar Sadiq Ali, who served the company.

They told Gen Amjad that Trouvons could help NAB in the rapid recovery of assets that had been “corruptly obtained and secreted outside of Pakistan”.

They convinced Gen Amjad that an asset recovery system with the firms would not lose Pakistan any money and that all the firms would need was a power of attorney to launch judicial proceedings against the “targets”.

Meanwhile, Pakistan would sit back and see billions of dollars brought back within months.

Gen Amjad consequently attended the Colorado, USA office of Trouvons where he met Jerry James and Dr William Pepper as the main people behind Trouvons.

Jerry James and Dr Pepper influenced General Amjad that they were particularly linked to the US, UK, and other jurisdictions and that they would be recovering billions of ill-gotten assets for the interest of the people of Pakistan.

They affirmed that Trouvons would fund all of the investigations and other efforts to recover assets.

Inadequate commitment:

After visiting Colorado, Gen Amjad tasked Farouk Khan to undertake negotiations on behalf of NAB and draft a “suitable agreement” stressing that the agreement should be only about “assets outside of Pakistan” and “not relate to assets inside of Pakistan”.

Gen Amjad signed the agreement with Broadsheet LLC, set up by Trouvons, on June 20, 2000, and with International Assets Recovery (IAR) on July 15, 2000.

According to Gen Amjad, he realised much later that he might have perhaps trusted Khan too much.

Gen Amjad said he had asked Khan to ensure that the agreement was vetted by the Ministry of Law and the Ministry of Finance, but Khan “failed to send the draft agreement to the relevant ministers” and “failed to obtain their approval”.

Instead, the Agreement left a major deception clear that eventually allowed Broadsheet to exploit the contract to claim 20% of all recoveries made by NAB even within Pakistan and even if it (Broadsheet) had no role in facilitating them.

It later was known that Khan’s son was employed by David Orchard, who, along with Dr Pepper, advised Trouvons.

Effortless work

Gen Amjad said he gave an office to Broadsheet at the NAB offices at no cost to facilitate the recovery of wealth; gave full access to the information they needed; and provided all documents, including dossiers on PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari and Benazir Bhutto.

Amjad said that Pakistan also assisted Broadsheet through the Federal Investigation Agency, the State Bank, NAB, and other organisations with the hope that Broadsheet and IAR would use this help as a springboard and trace assets in material and concrete aspects, but they realised soon that “Broadsheet seemed to have grossly misrepresented and exaggerated their competencies and resources with respect to their asset recovery programme”.

Broadsheet, he said in his witness statement, did not actively or consistently try to fulfil any of its obligations under the Broadsheet Agreement.

Gen Amjad served as NAB Chairman from November 16, 1999, to September 25, 2000, and retired from the services on December 27, 2002.

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