Court to indict Gilani, others in govt ads case on 27th

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court has set August 27 as the date to indict former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and others in a case about illegal issuance of tenders of government advertisements, it emerged on Tuesday.

Duty judge Tahir Mehmood heard the case as Judge Muhammad Basheer was on leave. Mr Gilani, however, did not turn up. His counsel informed the court that his client had been granted permanent exemption from appearing in the court.

NAB prosecutor informed the court that one of the accused, Inam Akbar, was also facing cases in Karachi and, therefore, he could not appear in the court.

The court adjourned the hearing, setting Aug 27 as the date to charge-sheet Mr Gilani, Inam Akbar and other accused in the case.

PPP leader is accused of involvement in illegal publicity campaign, causing Rs128m loss to national exchequer

Mr Gilani, a senior member of the PPP, was elected prime minister on March 25, 2008. He was declared ineligible by the Supreme Court on April 12, 2012, leading to his ouster from the office.

The PPP leader was accused of involvement in an illegal publicity campaign that allegedly caused a loss of Rs128 million to the national exchequer in 2011.

NAB Rawalpindi had filed the reference in the Accountability Court of Islamabad against Mr Gilani, Muhammad Saleem, former principal information officer (PIO), PID; Farooq Awan, former secretary of ministry of information technology; Riaz Asher Siddiqui, former chief executive officer, Universal Services Fund (USF); Inam Akbar, CEO of Midas; Syed Hasan Shikoh, former company secretary, USF; and Muhammad Hanif, former PA to PRO of IT over misuse of authority in the illegal publicity campaign through Midas and attempt to cause loss to the national exchequer.

According to NAB, Mr Gilani (the then prime minister), being the minister for information technology (IT) and as the chairman of the Universal Services Fund (USF), had directed for running a media campaign to highlight achievements of the Universal Services Fund (USF).

Mr Farooq Awan, the former secretary of the ministry of information technology, misused his authority in award of illegal publicity campaign through Midas against rules and attempted to cause a loss to the national exchequer.

Inam Akbar, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Midas, allegedly violated the Press Information Department (PID) instructions and prescribed procedures regarding media campaigns and undertook the entire electronic media campaign without getting any written orders (release order) either from the ministry of information technology or from the Universal Services Fund (USF) and served bills for payment.

The media campaign was launched by Midas which was not on the panel of the Universal Services Fund, neither before nor afterward.

The NAB investigation said that it had been manipulated by accused Riaz Asher Siddique, CEO of the USF, to place Midas on the panel in connivance with accused Muhammad Saleem, PIO, and the PID, to legitimise the media campaign and to facilitate payment of Rs128 million.

The NAB investigation further said there was no competition held to formally award the media campaign which was totally against PPRA rules and policy guidelines of the ministry of information and press information department (PID).



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