'Was not questioned about corruption of a single rupee,' Maryam tells accountability court

Updated September 18, 2019

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Maryam Nawaz (C) greeted by supporters on arrival at an accountability court in Lahore. — Photo courtesy Adnan Sheikh
Maryam Nawaz (C) greeted by supporters on arrival at an accountability court in Lahore. — Photo courtesy Adnan Sheikh

PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz on Wednesday rejected the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) investigation report that was presented before an accountability court, saying that the anti-corruption watchdog had not questioned her about "a single rupee's corruption".

Maryam had appeared before an accountability court in Lahore for a hearing of the Chaudhry Sugar Mills corruption case, in which she was arrested last month along with her cousin Yousuf Abbas. NAB appealed the court to grant an extension of 15 days in their physical remand but was granted a seven-day extension instead.

The NAB prosecutor told the court that the Chaudhry Sugar Mills has been registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan since 1992 and was established from an investment of Rs700 million, out of which Rs400m was borrowed from a bank.

He said the mills received a loan of $15m from offshore companies owned by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's family and added that the accountability watchdog was collecting records of Maryam's income and tax records as well as data on the Sharif family's offshore companies. According to the prosecutor, Maryam and Abbas had not given a clear answer on the $15m loan.

The investigation officer told the court that Rs900m were transferred in cash in two bank accounts that belong to Chaudhry Sugar Mills. He said the name of the person who transferred the money was not known. The accused claim that the person was their employee but have not presented his record, the IO added.

The counsel for Maryam and Abbas termed the report as "contrary to facts" and argued that the transfer of money into accounts "is not a crime". He said that NAB had no reason to ask for an extension in remand.

While speaking to reporters in court, Maryam said: "In the past 42 days, I was not questioned about corruption of a single rupee.

"They keep asking why my grandfather transferred his business to me. I have told them a 100 times that a person would transfer shares of his property to his own children, not his neighbours."

She questioned why NAB had arrested her if they did not have relevant documents. "How can a person submit documents while they are under arrest?

"I was arrested for political reasons because I was holding rallies," she said.

Later, while speaking to the media, Abbas complained that they had been eating food provided by the jail, even though the rest of the prisoners were allowed to have home-cooked meals.

"This represents [NAB's] small-mindedness," he said.

Maryam added: "If they think I will make any requests, they are mistaken."