KARACHI: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has initiated a probe against former provincial minister Sharjeel Inam Memon of the Pakistan Peoples Party for allegedly possessing assets beyond his known sources of income and money laundering.

“NAB Karachi has authorised an investigation against ex-provincial minister Memon on the allegations of assets beyond known sources of income and money laundering,” said a NAB spokesperson.

“Being a public office holder, ex-minister for information and archives, local govt and works and services departments has in his aforesaid capacities allegedly committed an offence of corruption and corrupt practices as defined in Section 9(v) of NAO 1999 that he possesses or his dependents or Benamidars have acquired right or title to assets or holds irrevocable powers of properties,” he said.

A NAB statement gave a list of land, plots and other assets of Mr Memon, who is currently a member of the Sindh Assembly.

The anti-graft watchdog alleges the PPP lawmaker is involved in Rs1bn money laundering

It alleged that there were 270 acres of agricultural land, worth Rs300 million, in his and his mother’s name.

Besides, he was also allegedly involved in sending abroad Rs1.08 billion through illegal channels.

It said that Mr Memon owned an over Rs1bn farmhouse and a Rs100m cotton factory in Hyderabad.

He also had three plots in Defence Housing Authority in his mother’s name and the collective value of these plots was estimated at Rs210m, it added.

The statement alleged that the PPP leader and his wife owned “flats and villas”.

He also allegedly possessed six plots in SITE in the name of his personal secretary Izhar Hussain, his driver Subhan and property agent Agha Ahsan.

In May, NAB arrested his personal secretary Hussain, who allegedly confessed to having abetted the former minister in illegally acquiring residential and commercial properties in SITE and DHA. He also allegedly acted as his “frontman” and collected illegal gratification or ‘monthly’ from different departments.

NAB also said that another held suspect, Mohammad Sohail, said to be an employee of a money exchange firm, was allegedly involved in laundering ill-gotten money worth billions of rupees of Mr Memon to the United Arab Emirates through hawala/hundi from 2012 onwards.

On June 22, the administrative judge of the accountability courts had issued a no-objection certificate for execution of an arrest warrant issued by the NAB chairman for Mr Memon in the assets beyond known sources of income probe.

On Dec 22, 2018, the anti-graft watchdog’s chairman had authorised the fresh inquiry against Mr Memon and subsequently issued his arrest warrant on June 13.

At that time Mr Memon was an undertrial prisoner in a reference pertaining to Rs5bn alleged corruption in award of government advertisement contracts to the electronic media. NAB had approached the Accountability Court-I for execution of his arrest warrant and permission to shift him to the NAB headquarters for interrogation.

The judge had issued a no-objection certificate to grill the PPP leader in prison, but turned down NAB’s request for shifting his custody.

On June 26, Mr Memon was granted post-arrest bail by the Sindh High Court against a surety of Rs5m due to delays in the trial in the reference pertaining to alleged corruption in award of government advertisement contracts.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2019