LAHORE: An accountability court on Friday issued preliminary notices to Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, his family members and all other suspects in a money-laundering reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Presiding Judge Jawadul Hassan also directed the NAB investigating officer to inform the court on Aug 27, the next hearing, about those suspects who had not joined the investigation or were not arrested.
A total of 20 people had been nominated in the reference and they include four approvers Yasir Mushtaq, Muhammad Mushtaq, Shahid Rafiq and Aftab Mahmood.
The main suspects are Mr Shahbaz’s wife Nusrat Shahbaz, his sons Hamza Shahbaz (leader of opposition in Punjab) and Suleman Shahbaz (absconder), and his daughters Rabia Imran and Javeria Ali.
Other suspects are alleged benamidars and business partners of the family including Nisar Ahmad, Qasim Qayum, Rashid Karamat, Masroor Anwar, Fazal Dad Abbasi and Shoaib Qamar.
The reference mainly accused Mr Shahbaz of being beneficiary of assets held in the name of his family members and benamidars who had no sources to acquire such assets. It said the suspects committed offences of corruption and corrupt practices as envisaged under the provisions of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 and money laundering as delineated in the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010. It asked the trial court to try the suspects and punish them under the law.
Mr Shahbaz is on pre-arrest bail granted by the Lahore High Court. Hamza is on judicial remand while Suleman has been declared absconder as he failed to return from London.
Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2020