Govt detects ‘more evidence’ of money laundering by Shahbaz

Updated 17 May 2020

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PM’s aide Shahzad Akbar says NAB will soon file a new reference against PML-N leader. — DawnNewsTV/File
PM’s aide Shahzad Akbar says NAB will soon file a new reference against PML-N leader. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: The government has come out with more “evidence” of money laundering and corruption allegedly committed by Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) president and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and announced that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) will soon file a new reference against him on the basis of “latest disclosure”.

The “proofs” in the form of cheques and documents showing huge bank transactions through fake companies and “cash boys” allegedly by Mr Sharif during the time when he was the chief minister of Punjab were presented before the media by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Accountability Shahzad Akbar at a press conference which he jointly addressed with federal Information Minister Shibli Faraz here on Saturday.

Mr Akbar urged NAB to conduct Mr Sharif’s trial on a day-to-day basis, besides asking it to get his name placed on the exit control list. He advised Mr Sharif to stay in Pakistan and do not try to fly to London, saying that the coronavirus situation was worse in the UK than Pakistan.

PM’s aide says NAB will soon file a new reference against PML-N leader

Earlier Mr Akbar had held a similar news conference on May 13 and claimed to have unearthed 10 front companies of the PML-N president and his sons from where over Rs17 billion had been transferred to their bank accounts.

On Saturday, Mr Akbar said that he was holding the news conference again to present “proofs” of his previous claim as demanded by the PML-N, particularly its information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb.

The SAPM alleged that Mr Sharif had established several fake companies in the names of his employees, which were used for unlawful transactions to whiten black money. The source of their income was telegraphic transfers sent to them by the poor employees of their companies, he added.

Mr Akbar said that being a politician and former public office-holder, Mr Sharif was answerable to the people and he would have to respond to the corruption charges at public forums.

The SAPM said Nisar Gill and Ali Ahmed, close friends and class fellows of Salman Shahbaz, the son of Mr Sharif, had been appointed as directors at the Chief Minister’s Office from where they operated as “front men” of the Sharif family.

Mr Akbar said a company named Nisar Trading Concern was registered in the name of Rashid Karamat, an employee of the Sharifs, whereas another company, Khan Traders, was registered in the name of the father of Shakeel, an employee of Ramzan Sugar Mills.

Mr Akbar alleged that two more employees of Mr Sharif, namely Masroor Anwar and Shoaib Qamar, had transferred huge amounts from the accounts of Nisar Trading and Khan Traders to the personal accounts of Shahbaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz, and that the record of these transactions was available with the banks.

Showing a number of cheques, the SAPM said the amount had been written in Urdu but the name of the companies was written in English in similar handwriting.

He said a PML-N lawmaker Saiful Malook had also deposited money in the account of Nisar Trading and when he was asked about it, the lawmaker replied that he had given the money for the party fund.

The SAPM expressed his surprise as to why Shahbaz Sharif himself was not responding to his allegations and why he was using his cronies, including a former prime minister, for this purpose.

Responding to the PML-N leaders statements in which they had asked him to come out with evidence, the SAPM said the burden of proof was on Shahbaz Sharif and his sons as billions of rupees were deposited in their personal accounts by their alleged front men.

He said Mushtaq Chiniwala and his son had already turned approvers against the Sharif family in another case.

Speaking on the occasion, Shibli Faraz said the country was facing two viruses – coronavirus and “corruption virus”. He said no vaccine for coronavirus had so far been manufactured, but for “corruption virus”, they had found the “antidote” in the form of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2020