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'Your empire is built upon fictitious telegraphic transfers': Akbar takes another swipe at Sharif

Updated July 18, 2019

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Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar addressing a press conference on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar addressing a press conference on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar on Thursday took another swipe at PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif, saying that the family's entire declared wealth was based solely on fictitious telegraphic transfers.

His remarks followed an "emotionally charged" press conference by Shehbaz Sharif to condemn the arrest by NAB of PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

"Today's conference wasn't about Abbasi's arrest or The Mail's story. The real reason is the entire family being caught red handed," said Akbar.

On Sunday, British weekly newspaper, The Mail, accused the former chief minister of embezzling money from foreign funds.

"The Mail's real story centres around the $26m money laundering perpetrated by your family. Your entire family's declared wealth is based solely on fake, fictitious telegraphic transfers," he continued.

Akbar said that Sharif's press conference does not even merit a rebuttal because he has not clarified even one point from The Mail's story and its accusations.

"First you claimed you will sue the publication for defamation, then you held an emotionally charged press conference which was basically a repeat telecast of when you used to stand with a fan in your hand and put on a show. There was no substance factually."

"The story was done by The Mail on Sunday, David Rose is the one who broke it, but after the press conference I did following the story, they tried to blame me for their woes," said Akbar.

"In response to the story, the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) payments I showed the media during my press conference did not see any specific response from these people," he added.

"I will go over from 'point to point' the things Shehbaz Sharif said in his press conference and how he strayed away from the basic facts that were stated (by me earlier)."

"Three cheques of payments were shown to have been given to Ali Imran and Co — Ali Imran, who is his son in law — and you all being residents of Lahore are well aware of the power the khadim-e-aala (servant of the people, as Shehbaz likes to call himself), his son and his son in law had."

"Now he says, 'The earthquake came in 2005.' Well of course, this is a well-known fact. How long after that were reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts ongoing?"

"We are asking you about three specific payments which were made from ERRA funds. The three payments have no relation to the Department for International Development (DFID) story or The Mail on Sunday story," said Akbar, as he demanded that Sharif provide answers during his press conferences, instead of throwing a smoke screen to hide the facts surrounding his misdeeds.

"First answer me this: These 3 payments you can see on the screen are not from 2005. The real earthquake which jolted the nation was your return and how you imposed yourself on the nation for 10 years.

"The first payment is from September 6, 2012. It was made from the ERRA funds, it says so clearly. Tell me this is wrong. The amount is Rs20 million. Another payment is Rs13m made in March 2013."

Akbar then went on to retrace the events which led to the issuance of the said funds.

"Naveed Ikram issued an illegal, unsanctioned amount of Rs60m from ERRA funds to Ali Imran's 'Ali Imran and Co' company which is registered with SECP but has no contract or sub contract with ERRA."

"The bone of contention here is not ERRA or DFID. You twist things," said Akbar, directly addressing Sharif.

"When we say there was corruption in the award of a contract, you go on to say CPEC will be affected. We talk about misappropriation in ERRA funds and you say DFID funding will be affected. Do not mislead the nation."

"Demand an answer for this Rs60m from your son in law. For what purpose were these funds issued?"

"This same Naveed Ikram, buys 80 kanals of land in Lahore's suburbs from his next appointment. He himself confessed today in a statement that in 2013 he was appointed in PPDCL (Punjab Power Development Company Limited) on the post of CFO."

"Shehbaz Sharif tried to have Farrukh Shah appointed as CEO and the matter is still under investigation by NAB. This was all in connivance of these individuals: Ali Imran, Farrukh Shah and Naveed Ikram."

"He [Ikram] was a poor man...he couldn't have paid [for the land] out of pocket. He used to steal from wherever he was appointed.

"So Farrukh Shah buys the land, Naveed Ikram makes the payment via a cheque and power of attorney was in the name of Ali Imran."

"When NAB asks him about the floors he had sold (of the plaza owned by him and located in Gulberg), he says floors 11, 12, 13. No contract, nothing."

"How did Naveed Ikram buy the floors from ERRA funds? Was ERRA buying the floors or was PPDCL, from where cheques were being made out?"

"And the building has only 5 floors," pointed out Akbar, as he continued to ask questions, demanding that Sharif answer them.

Akbar said that this line of questioning had taken place in October and November last year, after which Ali Imran fled the country and remains an absconder.

"Then you claim that in 2016 you wrote a letter and anti-corruption did this and that. This is also a fact that Naveed Ikram's real tale begins after 2016 because when he appears in court he describes the Ali Imran connection and then CIA takes him away from court and his wife is also arrested and they are tortured and told not to take Ali Imran's name."

"NAB takes cognizance of this in 2018 and at that time you made a fake recovery and claimed you had recovered Rs400 million worth of property. You conveniently left out Rs600m worth of Ali Imran's property. The real recovery took place now worth Rs1 billion."

Akbar said that Shehbaz's sense of justice is what begs clarification because he conveniently got one thief arrested — and from what it appears, owing to the fact he was a man without means — whereas the other was allowed to flee.

"He is still in London. If he had come and addressed a press conference, it would have been more appropriate," said Akbar.

"Mazoor Ahmed — and Mumtaz — are (only) two such characters on whose names you transmitted millions of dollars to Pakistan. That man (Ahmed) is not even capable of going to Karachi. How is he sending you $2 million from London, how is he sending you money from Dubai?"

"Your entire empire is built upon 200 or so such telegraphic transfers and the law was such that such money coming in would be considered white. You made that law in 1992 and today you are washing your hands off of it."