LONDON: The trial of Mohammad Gohir Khan, the 31-year-old British Pakistani charged with conspiracy to murder Dutch-based blogger Ahmad Waqass Goraya, entered day four on Tuesday when the prosecution provided further full details of the accused’s communication with an intermediary based in Pakistan.
The prosecution’s evidence to the jury again focused on the messages exchanged between the accused and the intermediary who was identified in the messages as Mudz, Zed, Papa and later by the accused as Muzamil.
The Crown Prosecution Service alleged that Khan conspired to kill Goraya with Mudz for an agreed sum of money. He also disclosed that at the time of his arrest, the accused was living at home with his parents, wife and six children.
It appears that the intermediary holds a British passport. At one point, when Khan and Mudz are arguing over Whatsapp messages regarding payments, Mudz mentions that he has a “B passport and does not need a visa to enter the UK”. The jury was told that Khan was in Rotterdam on an alleged reconnaissance mission linked to the Goraya murder plot and wanted more money for his expenses, but Mudz said the receipts he provided showed that the expenses were much lower.
Pakistan-based intermediary texts ‘hitman’ that he holds a British passport, UK court has heard
Mudz said he had traveled to Europe on personal trips in the past, so he was aware the expenses couldn’t be as high as Khan claimed. To this, Khan said that even a UK visa would cost £1,000, to which Mudz replied that he “never got a visa in his B passport”.
The CPS also shared details with the jury about the accused’s relationship with Mohammed Asif and Raza Syed Hassan, who they say helped the accused receive £5,000 from Muzamil on May 21, 2021. Khan had shared Mohammad Amin Asif’s bank details of two accounts. The CPS said evidence showed the money had been transferred to one of the accounts.
The defendant had known Syed since they attended boarding school together in Lahore, the CPS told the court. Syed had loaned the defendant around £500 in the past. Syed introduced the defendant to his brother-in-law Asif in 2014-2015, the court heard. Asif worked as an accountant for Khan until around 2017 and regularly lent him money as he was aware of his financial difficulties.
In 2020, Asif transferred £700 to Khan, which was later repaid. Another loan of £160 was made by Syed to Khan in February 2021 after Khan informed him he was bankrupt. A bankruptcy order had in fact been made by the High Court against the defendant in the same month. Khan’s total debt was £288,244.
Khan did not tell Syed what the money was used for.
In May last year, the defendant contacted Asif and asked if he could do him a favour. He said he had money in Pakistan which he needed in the UK and would transfer £5,000 to Asif’s bank account if Asif gave him the amount in cash.
Khan said he needed the money because it was overdrawn and therefore if the money was transferred electronically he could not use it. Asif requested that the money be transferred in Pakistani rupees to his bank account in Pakistan. They agreed on the exchange rate of Rs220 for the pound which stood at Rs1.1 million.
Khan sent Asif a payslip from the private bank in Pakistan showing that on May 21, a person using the name “Muzzamill” had deposited 1.1 million rupees in cash into Asif’s account. Asif collected £5,000 in cash and was going to arrange for Khan to collect the money directly from him, but instead gave an envelope containing the money to his brother-in-law, Syed, to deliver to the ‘accused.
Khan then met Syed the following day at the latter’s home in Cricklewood, where the cash envelope was delivered to him in the car. The defendant also returned the £160 which was due from February 2021 before the two went to Costa Coffee. There is no suggestion that Syed or Asif were aware of the actual purpose behind the payment.
Police listed the following items as having been provided by Khan at the time of the arrest: a Samsung Galaxy Note 10; ii. a black Nokia phone; iii. an SFR SIM card; iv. a Lycamobile SIM card.
Based on their investigation of the Samsung phone, police informed Khan’s lawyer that the Whatsapp conversations between Khan and Mudz/Zed were suspected to be related to arranging and agreeing to commit the murder of Goraya for a prize of £100,000.
The hearing will resume at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court on Wednesday.
Posted in Dawn, January 19, 2022