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Court rejects ex-PM Gilani’s plea

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court of Islamabad on Tuesday rejected the application of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani seeking exemption from personal appearance in case of award of alleged illegal advertising contract to a private ad agency.

The court said such application could only be entertained after framing of charges.

The ex-PM was seeking exemption from personal appearance on account of visiting abroad. The prosecutor of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on the other hand argued that under the law an accused could not file exemption plea before indictment.

Former prime minister Gilani, former secretary of Information Technology Farooq Awan, former press information officer (PIO) Mohammad Saleem, former company secretary Universal Service Fund Syed Hasan Sheikh, the CEO of Messrs Midas (Pvt) Ltd Inam Akbar and several other individuals from the Ministry of Information Technology were named in the corruption reference.

They are accused of misusing their authority to illegally grant Messrs Midas an advertising contract in contravention of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules.

The act is reported to have cost the national treasury Rs129.07 million.

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