Islamabad: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Tuesday announced its long-awaited verdict in the prohibited funding case and said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) did receive funding from prohibited sources.
A three-member bench comprising CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja and ECP members Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Muhammad Jatoi announced the verdict.
Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja said that the party received funds from 34 unknown sources and hid 13 accounts from the electoral body.
The list of funding sources also includes donors from Australia, UAE and the US.
“The party accepted funds from a US business personality,” it added.
The ECP declared that the affidavit submitted by the party related to funds was false.
Key points of the verdict
1) PTI Pakistan knowingly and willfully received donations from Wootton Cricket Limited registered in Cayman island which was operated and owned by a business tycoon Arif Masood Naqvi, the owner of Abraaj Group. The Respondent party was a willing recipient of prohibited money of US $ 2,121,500.
2) PTI Pakistan knowingly and willfully received donations from Bristol Engineering services — a UAE-based company, an amount of US $ 49,965/- into its accounts in Pakistan which are hit by prohibition in violation of Pakistani Laws.
3) PTI Pakistan knowingly and willfully received donations from E-Planet Trustees a Cayman island Pvt registered company to trust, based in Zurich Switzerland, and SS Marketing, Manchester a UK-based Pvt Company. From both the companies an amount of US $ 101,741/- into its accounts in Pakistan which are hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani Laws.
4) PTI Pakistan knowingly and willfully received donations through PTI USA LLC-6160 and PTI USA LLC-5975 US $ 2,525,500/-. From both the companies, the amounts received into the accounts of PTI Pakistan are hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani Laws.
5) PTI Pakistan knowingly and willfully received donations through PTI Canada Corporation and PTI UK Public Ltd company in the amount of US $ 279,822/- and GBP 792,265/- respectively. Similarly, an amount of PKR 3,581,186/- was also donated by PTI Canada Corporation to PTI Pakistan. From both the companies, the donated amounts received into the accounts of PTI Pakistan are hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani Laws.
6) PTI Pakistan knowingly and willfully received donations from Dunpec Pty Ltd, an Australia-based company and from Anwar Brothers, Zain Cotton and Young Sports (Pakistan-based companies) a total amount of PKR 689, 750. From both the companies, the amounts received into the accounts of PTI Pakistan are hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani Laws.
7) PTI Pakistan through fundraising campaigns carried out by PTI USA LLC-6160 and PTI USA LLC-5975 was the recipient of donations from 34 foreign Nationals and 351 foreign-based companies. The foreign nationals’ collection of donations and contributions from foreign nationals and companies are hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani Laws.
8) PTI Pakistan has also been found to be a beneficiary of donations by Ms Romita Shetty, a US-based businesswoman of Indian origin. An amount of US$ 13, 750/-donated by Romita Shetty is hit by the prohibition on donations by foreign nationals and in violation of Pakistani Laws.
9) PTI through its submission before the commission has accepted ownership of only eight (08) accounts while it declared 13 accounts under the category of unknown accounts and do not pertain to PTI accounts. The data obtained from SBP reveals that all the 13 accounts disowned by PTI were opened and operated by the senior PTI management and leadership at the Central and Provincial levels. In this regard, it is further added that PTI failed to mention and disclose three accounts which were also being operated by the senior leadership of the party. Non-disclosure and concealment of 16 bank accounts by PTI is a serious reporting lapse on the part of PTI leadership and in violation of Article 17 (3) of the Constitution of Pakistan.
10) The chairman of PTI for the financial year 2008-09 to 2012-13 (Five Years) has submitted Form-I which was found to be grossly inaccurate on the basis of the financial statements obtained by this Commission from SBP and other material available on record.
“Therefore, in view of the material available on the record and above discussion, the matter falls within the ambit of Article 6 (3) of PPO, 2002. Hence the Commission directs that a notice may be issued to the Respondent party in terms of Rule-6 of PPR 2002, as to why the aforementioned prohibited funds may not be confiscated. The office is also directed to initiate any other action under the law, in the light of this order of the Commission.”
Financial Times’ report
The demand for an announcement of the verdict in this important case increased following an explosive story by the Financial Times, revealing the sources of funding of the PTI.
The Financial Times (FT) revealed in an investigation that Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi’s Cayman Islands-incorporated company Wootton Cricket Ltd was used to bankroll Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) after receiving funds from companies and individuals, including at least £2mn in April 2013 from UAE government minister who is also a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.
Imran Khan confirms receiving funding
In his written response, Khan said that neither he nor his party was aware of Abraaj providing $1.3mn through Wootton Cricket. He also said he was “not aware” of the PTI receiving any funds that originated from Sheikh Nahyan.
“Arif Naqvi has given a statement which was filed before the Election Commission also, not denied by anyone, that the money came from donations during a cricket match and the money as collected by him was sent through his company Wootton Cricket,” Khan wrote.
Khan said he was waiting for the verdict of the election commission’s investigation. “It will not be appropriate to prejudge PTI.”
The ECP had reserved its verdict in the prohibited funding case against the PTI on June 21.
The petitioner, Babar, had alleged serious financial irregularities in the party’s funding from Pakistan and abroad. The PTI had, however, denied any wrongdoing and maintains the funding is not from prohibited sources.
On January 4, the ECP’s scrutiny committee, formed in March 2018 to examine the PTI’s foreign funding in one month, finally submitted its report after 95 hearings and nearly four years.
The report, based on eight volumes of record requisitioned through the State Bank of Pakistan, proved that the PTI leadership had committed gross violations of funding laws by allowing the collection of millions of dollars and billions of rupees without any source and details from foreigners, including Indian nationals and foreign companies.
The report also mentioned a refusal by the party to divulge details of large transactions and the panel’s helplessness to get details of PTI’s foreign accounts and the funds collected abroad. According to the report, the party under-reported an amount of Rs312 million over a four-year period between FY2009-10 and FY2012-13. Year-wise details show that an amount of over Rs145m was under-reported in FY2012-13 alone.