LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Lahore, has prepared another corruption reference against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his brother Shahbaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz pertaining to the Chaudhry Sugar Mills, money laundering and assets beyond means and sent it to its chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal on Friday for approval for filing in an accountability court.
The NAB Lahore also opened an investigation against the Sharif family for “illegally acquiring” hundreds of acres of land in Raiwind to include it in its Jati Umra residence.
“The new corruption reference against the Sharif family involving Rs7 billion will be presented in a meeting of the NAB executive board next week and the chairman is expected to give approval for filing the reference in the accountability court of Lahore shortly,” a source told Dawn.
He said the NAB deputy chairman had also called a pre-executive board meeting on Monday to go through the proposed draft of the reference prepared by the NAB Lahore executive board.
PML-N deplores that Sharifs’ mother, ancestral property are ‘dragged into political victimisation’
NAB has nominated Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz as prime suspects in the reference. Shahbaz Sharif’s son Salman, who is absconding in the UK, and other Sharif family members are among the 16 suspects in this case.
“In the reference, NAB has 100 prosecution witnesses and four approvers (against the Sharif family),” the source said, adding that Maryam Nawaz, Shahbaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif’s elder son Hamza were given questionnaire in this regard but they failed to respond to 80 per cent of the questions.
NAB alleged in the reference that the Sharif family had made money through money laundering and possessed assets beyond its known sources of income.
NAB has already summoned Shahbaz Sharif, opposition leader in the National Assembly, in money laundering and income beyond means investigation on June 2.
Maryam Nawaz has been on bail in Chaudhry Sugar Mills case since November, 2019. Nawaz Sharif has been in London since November, 2019, for his medical treatment after securing bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills and Al-Azizia Mills corruption case, in which he was serving a seven-year sentence in Kot Lakhpat jail, Lahore.
Meanwhile, NAB Lahore launched another investigation against Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and the Sharif brothers’ mother Shamim Begum for allegedly acquiring hundreds of acres of land illegally and including it in their Jati Umra residence.
“The Sharif family got thousands of kanals of land adjacent to its Jati Umra residence declared residential area in 2014 and former Lahore Development Authority head Ahad Cheema, a blue-eyed boy of Shahbaz Sharif, played an important role in this respect. Former DCO of Lahore Noorul Amin Mengal has also been included in the investigation,” the official source said.
Also in this week, NAB Lahore prepared a corruption reference against Nawaz Sharif, Jang Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakilur Rehman and two others in the 54-kanal land case and sent it to the chairman for approval. Retd Justice Iqbal is likely to approve it next week.
Commenting on the NAB plan to file a fresh reference against the Sharif family, PML-N information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said: “The purpose of floating such news is only to harass and insult [the Sharif family] through a media campaign. No matter how many fictitious references [Prime Minister] Imran Khan may get penned against the Sharif family, his enormous corruption cannot stay hidden behind such diversions,” she said.
The PML-N leader said the “NAB-Niazi alliance” had failed to build its false narrative by creating false references against Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and their family members. “There has been a non-stop vicious campaign against the Sharif family and despite all powers it enjoys, Imran-led corrupt PTI government has not been able to prove a single dime of corruption on them.”
Ms Aurangzeb said the fiasco that started from Panama Papers case had been reduced to the drain case and cases involving personal property and now ancestral property. “The ‘NAB-Niazi unholy alliance’ does not even feel shame while dragging a 90-year-old mother into its political victimisation. The bureau is blind to the court’s verdict on Banigala, the political ATMs-sponsored Zaman Park House, the flat worth millions in Grant Hyatt, 23 illegal secret accounts and billions funnelled to Imran Khan from questionable persons and organisations,” she alleged.
She said the persecution of the Sharif family by NAB was blatantly clear. “And when it could not find anything to satiate their vengeance, it has stooped down to victimisation of female family members. But all this cannot frighten and silence the PML-N,” she said, adding the Sharif family stood up to all this because they were not guilty by any stretch of imagination. “The real corruption and the patrons of the corrupt are sitting in the Prime Minister House,” she alleged.
Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2020