Nawaz, Maryam face another corruption reference

Updated August 08, 2019

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SPECIAL Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar addressing the press conference.—APP
SPECIAL Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar addressing the press conference.—APP

ISLAMABAD: A new case of corruption related to Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members will soon be filed in the accountability court by the National Accountability Bureau.

The CSM case, under investigation by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for a long time, took a new turn when one of the accused, Nasir Lutha, the former president of the Summit Bank, returned to the country and pleaded his innocence in the case.

“The case is at present at the inquiry stage and it will soon become a new reference against the Sharif family,” Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Accountability Shahzad Akbar told a press conference on Wednesday.

He said that money laundering and fraud had been established in the case and several members of the Sharif family, including Nawaz Sharif and PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz, were allegedly involved in the case.

PM’s aide says money laundering has been established in Chaudhry Sugar Mills case

“Today our team questioned Nawaz Sharif in jail on his alleged involvement in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills scam,” he said.

Mr Akbar said that the CSM was established during the first PML-N government in 1991-92 at a cost $30 million and in the project, $15 million was a loan taken from a foreign bank and it had still not been proved by the Sharifs as to from where the remaining amount of $15 million had come.

He said that the Sharifs had obtained the $15 million loan for installation of the machinery of the sugar mills, but before receiving the loan, the sugar mill was established and they asked the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to allow them to receive the loan directly into the bank account of the CSM.

“The SBP accepted the demand of the Sharif family and the money was transferred to their bank account,” he said.

The prime minister’s aide said that the investigation conducted so far into the CSM case had revealed that one UK-based Qazi family was used by the Sharifs for laundering the money and, therefore, help of the UK government was also being sought to investigate the matter.

He said that Ms Maryam Nawaz had received $7 million share of the CSM in 2008 and then the money was transferred to Yousuf Abbas, a member of the Sharif family. From Yousuf Abbas’s accounts, the amount was transferred to Nasir Lutha’s accounts and from there to Hussain Nawaz’s accounts and then to Nawaz Sharif’s accounts and finally the amount was again transferred to the bank accounts of Yousuf Abbas.

Mr Akbar said that 50 per cent of CSM’s holdings belonged to Nasir Lutha, but after returning to Pakistan, Mr Lutha claimed that he was not aware how that money came to his accounts.

“Nasir Lutha told a magistrate in 2010 that some members of the Sharif family had met him in Dubai and gave him $500,000 for investing in his real estate business, but a few days later they came again and asked him to return the money as they had changed their mind,” he said.

Mr Akbar said that the Sharifs had been involved in not only the money laundering, but also in fraud as they kept getting subsidy from the government till 2018 by showing fake export of sugar.

Multan metro case

In reply to a question about the alleged laundering of funds of the Multan Metro Bus project to China, he said the matter had already been taken up with Chinese authorities and Chinese nationals involved in the matter were facing criminal cases.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2019