Pakistan reopens graft cases against former president Asif Ali Zardari

Pakistan’s anti-graft court has reopened five corruption cases against former president Asif Ali Zardari dating back to the 1990s, officials said on Monday.

The allegations against Zardari relate to kickbacks, money laundering and the illegal construction of a polo ground at the prime minister’s official residence, during his slain wife Benazir Bhutto’s two stints as premier.

As president Zardari enjoyed immunity from prosecution, but this ended when he stepped down after five years in September and now an anti-corruption court has taken up the cases.

“The accountability court has ordered former president Asif Ali Zardari to appear before the court on October 29,” a court official announced.

The probe includes corruption allegations relating to customs contracts given to two Swiss companies that were behind a long-running tussle between the Supreme Court and the last government, led by Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

For more than two years PPP ministers refused to write to the Swiss to ask them to reopen their probe into claims Zardari and Bhutto laundered $12 million worth of bribes.

 

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