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Benazir Bhutto admits Zardari 'may' have bought the Surrey Mansion.

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    Benazir Bhutto admits Zardari 'may' have bought the Surrey Mansion.

    Im waiting for the time when Benazir joins her husband in jail, and they both pay for what they have done to Pakistan in the past.
    The article says they have usurped more than GBP 830 million, which comes to more than $1 billion. Amazing greed.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Ar...248204,00.html

    Nick Hopkins, crime correspondent
    Guardian

    Friday August 31, 2001


    An anti-corruption inquiry is poised to bring charges against Benazir Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari over claims that he used millions of pounds from illegal kickbacks on government contracts to buy properties in Britain, including a mansion in Surrey called Rockwood House.

    A lawyer at the centre of a two-year investigation claimed yesterday there was overwhelming proof that Mr Zardari bought Rockwood, a 5m nine-bedroom house set in 350 acres near Brook, Surrey, and "a number of other substantial" homes in London.

    William Pepper, an American attorney who is advising prosecutors in Islamabad, said the money used to pay for the deals "rightfully belongs to the government of Pakistan", not Mr Zardari or Mrs Bhutto.

    The Bhuttos have consistently denied wrongdoing, saying they are the victims of a political conspiracy.

    In another significant development, artefacts left at Rockwood House when it was abandoned five years ago have been delivered to the Pakistan high commission in London. The belongings, including gifts given to the couple when they were in power, were handed over on Tuesday following a request from Pakistan's National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to Paul Keating, a building contractor who was left in charge of the property.

    Mr Keating, 48, agreed to help with the investigation and has been interviewed in London by the NAB's chairman, Lieutenant General Syed Mohammad Amjad, and its prosecutor in chief, Farouk Adam Khan. Mr Keating told the NAB that the artefacts arrived in the UK from a property he believes is owned by the Bhuttos in Karachi.

    The goods included a framed picture of Mrs Bhutto, a commemorative blue plate with her name engraved on it and a plaque with two first world war bayonets. An inscription on the wooden frame says: "Presented to Asif Zardari from Wilkinson's Swords". The NAB is also hoping to recover a stuffed Bengal tiger that was delivered to Rockwood.

    Mr Zardari, who is in jail in Pakistan on unrelated matters, has denied buying the house. Mrs Bhutto, now in exile in Dubai, has insisted that she knew nothing about the property. She believes the allegations against her and her husband have been trumped up by their political enemies as part of an effort to keep her from returning to the country and regaining power.

    Military coup

    Mrs Bhutto, whose government was dismissed in 1996 for "corruption, misrule and nepotism", has told the Guardian she had asked her husband "on 10 occasions" if he had bought Rockwood, and that he had consistently denied it. "I have never seen the paperwork to prove it. I do not believe he had anything to do with it."

    However, in a recent interview with a Sunday newspaper, Mrs Bhutto conceded that Mr Zardari might have bought it after all. "Perhaps he did," she said. "Although he tells me otherwise." She also distanced herself from her husband's work. "(He) never interfered in my work and I never interfered in his," she said.

    The net around the Bhuttos has been tightening since General Pervez Musharraf seized power in a coup two years ago.

    Progress on the Rockwood inquiry was slow until this year when the Home Office agreed to give the NAB bundles of confidential documents relating to Mr Zardari's activities in the UK.

    The papers included the findings of an investigation conducted by the south-east regional crime squad, and statements given under oath by Mr Zardari's friends and business associates during private hearings at Bow Street magistrates court.

    The NAB has since accused the Bhuttos of either "looting or acquiring through illegal activity" more than 830m.

    In May, Pakistan's dictator, General Pervez Musharraf accused Mrs Bhutto of "mismanaging" and "corrupting" the country and warned she would be locked up if she returned home.

    Once the artefacts have been delivered to the NAB, officials are likely to pursue charges against Mr Zardari and Mrs Bhutto over the purchase of Rockwood and other properties.

    Mr Pepper described the belongings as "significant items of evidence ... that relate to the acquisition of that asset".

    "The prosecutors are waiting on the artefacts before bringing charges regarding Rockwood," he added.

    Investigators claim it is highly unlikely that Mrs Bhutto would not have known that her husband, whom she appointed as investment minister in her last government, was taking kickbacks and spending the money on business deals abroad.

    Speaking in New York, Mr Pepper said: "There is no doubt that the Rockwood property was bought by Mr Zardari. There is no doubt about that at all. There are also substantial other properties in London. As to the source of the funds, the picture that is unfolding shows clearly that the money rightfully belongs to the government of Pakistan."

    The Pakistan high commission confirmed yesterday that it had received artefacts from Rockwood House. "They will be sent to Islamabad," said a spokeswoman. "If the house did not belong to the Bhuttos, it's hard to understand why these personal belongings were there. Some of the artefacts appear to be gifts given to them when they were in power."

    Mr Keating has told the NAB that he was in charge of rebuilding work at Rockwood and that he had meetings with Mr Zardari in which the former minister spoke of preparing the house for "BB".

    He said Mr Zardari planned to build a stud, a nine-hole golf course and a paddock for polo ponies. Curtains worth 50,000 were made for the bedrooms, the bathrooms were laid with marble and the master bedroom was reinforced with girders to make it bomb proof.

    Shortly before Mrs Bhutto was deposed, Mr Keating was ordered to remove everything from the house. Payments for the building work stopped abruptly. Mr Keating says he is still owed 500,000.

    The NAB has already brought a series of corruption charges against Mrs Bhutto and Mr Zardari. In June, Mrs Bhutto was jailed in her absence for three years for failing to attend court hearings.

    She has described the treatment meted out to her and her husband as "the murder of justice" and said General Musharraf had "no mandate to represent my people and my country. I travel the world promoting democracy in Pakistan, never knowing when - or if - I will see my husband again," she said.

    In and out of prison and politics: Mr Ten Per Cent

    To his political enemies, Asif Ali Zardari is known as Mr Ten Per Cent - a reference to his alleged fondness for commissions on business deals.

    To his supporters, he is the victim of a military regime's determination to banish Benazir Bhutto from Pakistan forever.

    Mr Zardari, 47, was a wealthy Karachi landowner, polo-player and party-goer when he married Bhutto in December, 1987. He had political ambitions of his own, but before the marriage they had come to nothing.

    When Mrs Bhutto was deposed in 1990 following her first spell in power, he was an easy target for her opponents. The press in Pakistan had frequently linked him with property scandals. He was eventually charged with a range of offences, including corruption, abuse of office, extortion and conspiracy to murder.

    After two years in jail, he was released and immediately appointed by Mrs Bhutto as a minister in a government formed in April 1993. Commentators described her decision as "stupid, naive and suicidal".

    Rumours about him persisted and in December, 1996, he was imprisoned again, when Mrs Bhutto's second administration fell.

    Zardari insists his only crime was "to marry Islam's first woman prime minister".

    #2

    very hi good newz...
    letz hope these ppl pay 4 their deedz...
    Pakistan shud make them a lesson 4 otherz to learn...

    God bless u all te Pakistan...

    DerVaisH

    ------------------
    muhabatein theen kabhi apne dermian kitni...
    bicha gaye hai anna hum mein doorian kitni...
    abhi to toota hai dil hi teri judai mein...
    girein gi hum pe abhi aur bijlian kitni...

    Comment


      #3
      Im waiting for the time when Benazir joins her husband in jail, and they both pay for what they have done to Pakistan in the past.
      The article says they have usurped more than GBP 830 million, which comes to more than $1 billion. Amazing greed.


      Putting them in jail will not help because there are many other corrupt people, even now, looting the country.

      The corruption is the biggest problem on the subcontinent more than poverty.

      Comment


        #4
        Corruption is a huge problem. Hence, punishment for the corrupt will serve as a deterrent to future potential corrupts.

        The reason corruption continued on unabated in the past was because there never was any accountability for anyone. One party comes into power and targets the outgoing party. The outgoing party comes back and reverses everything.
        The situation is not the same anymore. Its clear from the figures, statistics, and voices coming out of Pakistan.

        And I feel poverty is a bigger problem...though its a direct derivative of the corruption.

        [This message has been edited by Akif (edited September 01, 2001).]

        Comment


          #5
          there is always safe heaven for money
          that blongs to poor of the third world.

          Comment


            #6
            Everyone (epecially 'high ups') should be made accountable for their wrong doings. Many billions of dollars have disapeared over the years during civilian rule. I hope this benazir/zardari case draws to a close very soon. President Musharaf has done the best possible under the current circumstances, to bring people to justice.

            Comment

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