LAHORE: After getting frozen all movable and immovable properties in the country owned by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shahbaz Sharif, his sons Hamza and Suleman and other family members, in connection with an investigation involving them in the income beyond means and money laundering case, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Lahore, on Monday wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), asking it to stop them from transferring their shares/revenue in their six companies to anyone else.
The NAB Lahore has also appointed its one official in each of the six companies – Sharif Poultry, Chiniot Energy Limited, Sharif Dairy, Ramzan Energy, Crystal Plastic and Al-Arabia – to monitor the business transactions and accumulation of revenue.
“Shahbaz Sharif, his wife Ms Nusrat and sons Hamza and Suleman will no more be allowed to transfer their shares and revenue to anyone else after the SECP action,” an official told Dawn. He said the NAB had suggested that the revenue of these companies should be collected and monitored by a government official and made part of the attached (frozen) property of the suspect.
In a letter to the SECP, the NAB Lahore wrote: “An investigation against accused Shahbaz Sharif (former chief minister, Punjab), Hamza Shahbaz, Suleman Shahbaz and others for offences of corruption and corrupt practices as defined under section 9(a) punishable under section 10 of NAB Ordinance read with section 3 of Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010 and schedules thereto was authorised vide letter No 1(61) HQ/974/NAB-L dated April, 4, 2019. During the investigation it revealed that accused Shahbaz Sharif, Hamza, Suleman and Nusrat Shahbaz have acquired shares and have beneficial interests in Sharif Poultry, Chiniot Energy Limited, Sharif Dairy, Ramzan Energy, Crystal Plastic and Al-Arabia in their own names as well as the names of their relatives/benamidars/associates.”
Marriyum denies PML-N president has any stakes in these concerns
The bureau further said that having examined the evidence so far collected during investigation it found that there were reasonable grounds for believing that the accused had committed the aforesaid offences. “The NAB, therefore, orders that the aforesaid shares of the accused persons (in these six companies) and any financial benefits or any other interest arising out of the said shares and any other financial benefit, right, title of the aforesaid persons and their associates/benamidars in the aforesaid companies be frozen, prohibiting delivery of any benefit to the accused, their relatives/benamidars and associates,” it said.
The NAB also directed the chief financial officers of the companies to ensure that no monetary/financial or any other benefit of any kind in the form of dividend, loan, salary, asset, etc was given to the accused persons or their relatives and associates.
Earlier in July, different departments froze moveable and immovable properties of Shahbaz, Hamza, Suleman and other family members’ on the NAB’s request. The properties include four residential plots measuring one kanal and five marlas, one kanal and four marlas, one kanal and seven marlas and one kanal and eight marlas in the Judicial Employees Cooperative Housing Society.
Three properties in Haripur owned by Mr Shahbaz’s other wife Tehmina Durrani have also been attached. Two residential properties of Shahbaz which are in the name of Ms Nusrat -- one in Model Town (96 and 87 H-Block) and a 9-kanal house in Murree’s Dounga Gali -- have also been attached. Four Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs owned by Mr Sharif have also been marked as case property.
During the investigation, NAB said it had found that Shahbaz Sharif, Hamza and Suleman had accumulated assets to the tune of Rs3 billion which were disproportionate to their known sources of income. “The suspects in order to justify the acquisition of assets have mentioned foreign remittances worth Rs1.3bn,” it earlier said.
The anti-graft watchdog had alleged that most of the remittances were fictitious and the process of remittances was used for “laundering the assets” disproportionate to the known sources of income of the accused.
Shahbaz Sharif has been on bail in Ramzan Sugar Mills and Ashiyana Housing cases, while Hamza is on judicial remand in the income beyond means, money laundering and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases. Suleman Shahbaz is absconding and presently resides in the UK.
PML-N information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb told Dawn that Mr Shahbaz did not own any shares in any of these companies. “Despite the worst political victimisation in the history of Pakistan by this imposed regime, they have not been unable to indict Shahbaz in a single case of corruption,” she said.
“The PML-N president has been in judicial and NAB custody for the longest time and after endless inquiries and exhaustive investigations they could not find even a dime of corruption. During his tenure Shahbaz implemented projects worth billions of rupees. These included mega projects in energy, communication, health, education and public transport sectors. Though the entire record is with Punjab and federal governments, not a single rupee corruption is established.”
She said these companies had been working since 1980s. “Shahbaz Sharif has neither been a director or shareholder in any of these businesses, nor has he drew any dividends from them. NAB has not only launched a victimisation campaign [against PML-N leaders] based on lies, but is also overstepping its jurisdiction.”
Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2019