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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Irregularities in submarine deal

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has refuted the US$2.81 million claim of the AGOSTA-90 submarine negotiator who, via a plea bargain in 2002, facilitated the recovery of kickbacks worth US$7.5 million from former naval chief Mansurul Haq.

The NAB statement has been filed in the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) petition of Ahmed Jamil Ansari, a consultant for the French government defence supplier, SOFMA, who negotiated in 1994 with the Pakistan Navy for purchase of three AGOSTA-90 submarines, as well as SM-39 missiles and mine hunkerships.

The petitioner, who claimed to have received a 25 per cent commission in the submarines and naval equipment purchase deal, sought the recovery of US$2.81 million from NAB — money that was obtained by him during former prime minster Nawaz Sharif and president Pervez Musharaf’s regime.

He submitted that US$2.468 million were obtained from him in 1998 under duress by then-Ehtesab Bureau chief, Saifur Rehman, while the NAB also obtained US$800,000 from him while dealing with an asset matter in the Isle of Jersey, UK. He submitted that NAB authorities assured him that his amount will be returned to him but the promise was not honoured despite several assurances.

Ansari, who also facilitated NAB for the recovery of kickbacks and commissions from former naval chief Mansur Haq, denied that any kickback was received in the submarine and naval equipment deal and contended that he had earned a commission from the French company from his fair negotiating deal. The former naval chief had returned US$7.5 million to the government by entering a plea bargain with NAB in connection with submarine corruption reference before the Accountability Court. The petitioner, however, claimed the recovery of his commission as per the Supreme Court judgment in the Amir Lodhi case.

Refuting his claim, NAB submitted that the now-defunct Ehtesab Bureau came to know that Mansur Haq had obtained kickbacks in various defence deals from foreign suppliers and the petitioner gave an affidavit to the Bureau in 1998, saying that his offshore accounts were used to transmit commission to the accounts of Mansurul Haq and his aide, Amir Lodhi, who also worked as a partner of the petitioner in the deal.

NAB submitted that the petitioner admitted in an affidavit that kickbacks were received in the purchase of submarines from SOFMA and SM-39 missiles from another French company, Aerospatiale, while another bribe was received from M/s Thompson CSF in the purchase of defence equipment. It was submitted that the petitioner incorporated a company, Titan Europe; kickbacks were received from his account and later transferred to M/s Foraker and M/s Molygrove, which were owned and operated by the former naval chief.

The division of kickbacks between the former naval chief, Mansur ul Haq, Amir Lodhi and the petitioner were 50 per cent, 25 per cent and 25 per cent respectively; subsequently, US$3.369 million were transferred to Mansur ul Haq; US$1.739 million to Amir Lodhi; and US$2 million to Ansari, NAB said. The balance amount recoverable from the suppliers was US$1.7 million from SOFMA, US$4 million from Aerospatiale, and US$0.2 million from M/s Thompson CSF.

NAB said that the petitioner returned US$2.460 million to the government and he was not indicted by the AC as he had voluntarily return the proceeds of the corruption and had disclosed the facts and circumstances to which he was privy, along with relevant records.

The petitioner, NAB said, also claimed a reward on account of his support for facilitating the plea bargain from the former naval chief. NAB submitted that the petitioner claimed in his affidavit that the payment of US$2.4 mullion was in fact in excess of his actual liability as he had only received kickbacks US$2 million in the shady defence deal.

It was submitted that the excess amount of US$460,000 was paid to him, keeping in view his reward for facilitating the plea bargain. NAB also mentioned that Broad Sheet, an asset tracing company, brought to its notice that the petitioner held funds in the Isle of Jersey; subsequently, a request was issued to the Attorney General for freezing his account.

NAB said that the petitioner also gave another affidavit and offered to return amounts taken as commission between 1998 and 2006; subsequently, US$800,000 were transferred to NAB and the Isle of Jersey police were asked to remove the caution from the account of the petitioner, confirming that he was not facing any inquiry under the NAB Ordinance. The Bureau requested the court to dismiss the petition because no claim had been made out. The matter has been fixed for hearing before the SHC.

It is pertinent to mention that on May 8, 2002, eleven French engineers and technicians and three Pakistanis were killed in an apparent suicide car bombing on a bus carrying French technicians, who were assisting the Pakistan Navy in the preparation of an AGOSTA submarine in Karachi. Following the acquittal of Jihadi activists from car bombing charges, questions have been floated in France attributing the killing of the Frenchmen to the nonpayment or partial payment of kickbacks. (Source thenews)


PropulsionMESMA air-independent propulsion system
2 SEMT-Pielstick 16 PA4 V 185 VG diesels (3,600hp)
2200kW electric motor
1 shaft
Displacement surfaced1570 tons
Displacement dived1760 tons
Complement8 Officers, 43 Sailors
SensorsRadar, ESM, Periscopes, Sonar Passive Towed Array
ArmamentMissiles, Torpedoes, Mines


Block I
SaadS138Karachi Shipyard200112 Dec 2003__
HamzaS139Karachi Shipyard10 Aug 200626 Sep 2008__
Block II

SKarachi Shipyard200?200?__

SKarachi Shipyard200?200?__

SKarachi Shipyard200?200?__