Ruling on plea of sugar mill owned by Sharifs reserved

Updated May 29 2020

Email

The plea pertains to the SECP's non registration of the mill's shares. — APP/File
The plea pertains to the SECP's non registration of the mill's shares. — APP/File

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday reserved its judgement on a petition filed in the court by the administrator of the Ramzan Sugar Mills of the Sharif family against non-registration of its shares by Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

The mills’ administrator through his lawyer informed the court that all of the mills’ assets had been frozen following filing of references by NAB against the mills. He said the mills wanted to obtain a loan from a bank and for that purpose it requested the SECP to register its shares.

However, the counsel said the commission had refused to register the shares owing to the NAB references pending against the mills. He asked the court to order the SECP to register the shares of the mills so that it could secure the loan from the bank.

The counsel further informed the court that NAB had previously sent a letter to the SECP about a “caution mark” on the sale and purchase of the mills’ shares only. He said no NOC from the bureau was required for the purpose of seeking the loan from the bank as the matter did not pertain to the sale/purchase of shares.

He asked the court to order the SECP to register shares of the mills so that it could get its assets mortgaged for the bank loan.

In reply to a court’s question, NAB Prosecutor Asim Mumtaz informed the court that the pending investigation was not related to the company (mills) but its shareholders. However, he opposed the petition and said the sugar mills could not avail the facility during pendency of the cases.After hearing arguments of the two sides, Justice Ayesha A. Malik reserved the judgement on the petition.

The NAB reference accuses that Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, being chief minister of Punjab, had approved the construction of a drain in Chiniot with a cost of Rs360 million only to benefit Ramzan Sugar Mills owned by his sons Hamza and Salman.

The reference said that public funds were misused for the benefit of the family business of the suspects. Shahbaz and Hamza have been granted bail in the case while Salman escaped abroad.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2020