Shahbaz, Hamza indicted in Ramzan Sugar Mills case

Updated April 09, 2019

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Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shahbaz arrives at the accountability court in Lahore. ─ DawnNewsTV
Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shahbaz arrives at the accountability court in Lahore. ─ DawnNewsTV

National Assembly Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif and his son, Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shahbaz, were indicted by an accountability court in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case on Monday.

Both father and son pleaded not guilty to the charges framed against them, which involve the misuse of their authority and the illegal use of public funds.

As the hearing began, a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) lawyer stated that both PML-N leaders would be indicted today. NAB special prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua gave his arguments regarding indictment of the duo.

Accountability Court Judge Najamul Hassan asked the NAB prosecutor what exactly the Ramzan Sugar Mills reference is, to which Janjua replied that public funds were used for a nullah for the mills, of which Hamza is a director.

According to the accountability watchdog, the funds for the nullah ─ which come to about Rs200 million ─ had been released by then Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif.

As Shahbaz began to tell the court that NAB had built a faulty case, the judge told him he could speak when it is his turn.

Shahbaz, however, continued: "God knows, in 10 years, I have saved [the country] billions of rupees. I had nothing to do with this nullah, no money was wrongfully used."

The court subsequently indicted both, father and son, before moving onto hearing the Ashiyana Housing scam case, in which Shahbaz has already been indicted.

Read more: A timeline of developments in the Ashiana housing scam

Yesterday, a Ramzan Sugar Mills manager, Mohammad Mushtaq alias Chini, was taken into custody by the Federal Investigation Agency while attempting to flee to Dubai.

He is alleged to be the frontman for a Sharif family member and had reportedly gone underground after Shahbaz was arrested. Sources said that NAB wants to grill Mushtaq in connection with a sum of Rs600 million he transferred to the account of Salman Shahbaz, Hamza's brother.

Last week, NAB made two attempts to arrest Hamza from his family's residence in Lahore in connection with a case pertaining to ownership of assets beyond means. The bureau was restrained from arresting him by the Lahore High Court, which yesterday granted Hamza pre-arrest bail until April 17.