Fresh Rs7bn reference filed against Shahbaz, sons

Updated 24 Sep 2020

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Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability Shahzad Akbar said the reference comprised 55 volumes and 25,000 pages of documentary evidence against the Sharifs. — DawnNewsTV
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability Shahzad Akbar said the reference comprised 55 volumes and 25,000 pages of documentary evidence against the Sharifs. — DawnNewsTV

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability Shahzad Akbar on Wednesday revealed that a fresh Rs7 billion money laundering reference had been filed against Leader of the Opposition and PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif and his family.

“The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has filed a reference, accusing Shahbaz Sharif and his children of money laundering to the tune of over Rs7 billion in a Lahore NAB court,” said the adviser at a press conference.

He said Shahbaz Sharif and his sons, Hamza Shahbaz and Salman Shahbaz, were involved in money laundering through fake accounts, but he (Shahbaz) always pretended to have nothing to do with their businesses.

The PM’s adviser said the financial monitoring unit had detected 177 suspicious transactions of Shahbaz Sharif’s family after which NAB started probe.

PM aide says 177 suspicious transactions detected; money laundered through staff of family’s firms

He said the reference comprised 55 volumes and 25,000 pages of documentary evidence against the Sharifs, including company records, bank statements and foreign remittances.

“The record was compiled after detailed investigation by NAB teams which nominated 16 accused in the reference — six family members and their 10 accomplices,” Mr Akbar said, adding that four of the accused had turned approvers and disclosed their role in money laundering carried out by the Sharif family.

He said billions of rupees were laundered through employees of the companies owned by Shahbaz Sharif and his children.

He accused Shahbaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz of taking kickbacks and commissions in return for party tickets and projects to favourites.

According to the reference, the Sharif family was involved in fake foreign remittances and organised money laundering.

Shahbaz Sharif paid for the custom duty of the imported land cruiser, two houses in Defence Housing Authority and villas in Whispering Pines from the laundered money, Mr Akbar said.

About Rs9.5 billion was laundered through fake companies and Ramazan Sugar Mills whose employees’ salaries were in thousands of rupees but billions went through their bank accounts, he explained.

The PM’s adviser said Shahbaz Sharif should explain the organised money laundering network that was run by his children between 2008 and 2018.

“He should also disclose the source of income of his son Salman Shahbaz and son-in-law Ali Imran, now living in London,” Mr Akbar said.

He said it was important to send out the government’s narrative on corruption and money laundering.

On one hand the opposition parties wanted a truth commission formed while on the other they were lying in courts about their corruption and money laundering, he added.

Responding to a question as to why the government was not taking action against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leaders allegedly involved in corruption, Mr Akbar said the government was conducting accountability across the board and action was taken against party stalwart Jehangir Tareen for his involvement in the sugar scam.

“The government is pursuing this case vigorously in all courts,” he added.

Similarly, the government made public the sugar inquiry commission’s report and legal action was taken against those involved, he said, adding that “the process of accountability will continue without any interruption and those involved in corruption will be held accountable”.

The PM’s adviser said the government was actively pursuing the case in courts based on the sugar commission report and had made recoveries of Rs3 billion to be paid to sugarcane farmers.

The Federal Investigation Agency, he said, was also pursuing the case against Jehangir Tareen and Ali Tareen and notices were served on them.

Talking about Bahria Town Karachi case in the Supreme Court, Mr Akbar said its owner, Malik Riaz Hussain, had made a settlement of Rs450 billion and was complying with the payment schedule.

Maryam’s statement on GHQ meeting

About PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz’s statement that no one representing Nawaz Sharif met the army chief, Shahzad Akbar said: “Maryam has removed her uncle from PML-N by declaring that not a single member of Nawaz Sharif’s party (PML-N) met the military leadership.”

According to media reports, later confirmed by some opposition party leaders, some key opposition figures had recently met Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2020