LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday arrested a close aide to PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif in the money laundering case.

A NAB team raided a site in Islamabad on a tip-off on Tuesday and arrested absconding Ali Ahmed Khan, the accused of facilitating money laundering for Shehbaz and his sons – Hamza and Suleman.

“Khan, through Good Nature and Uni Tass companies, did money laundering,” the bureau said and added that Shehbaz, during his tenure as chief minister, had given a job to Khan at the Chief Minister Secretariat. Khan was declared a proclaimed offender in 2020 in the money laundering case against Shehbaz and others.

Ali Ahmed Khan has been brought to Lahore and would be presented before the accountability court on Wednesday (today) for physical remand.

Shehbaz and Hamza have been on bail in the Rs7bn reference of money laundering and assets beyond means.

The reference mainly accused Shehbaz of being a beneficiary of the assets held in the name of his family members and benamidars, who had no sources to acquire such assets.

According to NAB: “Not only have the family members of Shehbaz Sharif accepted and utilised foreign remittances from ‘fake/ghost’ remitters all of them have duly acknowledged their receipts into their personal bank accounts in black and white. They signed the bank’s ‘Due Diligence Forms’ for inward remittances and also Form R required under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act. These 177 fake foreign remittances in the name of fake foreign investment remitters coming from them either from business relations, cousins or friends for the purpose of investment in business”.

Denying the charges as false and fabricated, Mr Shehbaz had said he had been victimised on political grounds. He said all the cases pending against him had been engineered by his political opponents.

Adjourned: An accountability court on Tuesday adjourned hearings of two references against Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza.

Hamza and other suspects attended the proceedings, while a one-time exemption from personal appearance was sought on behalf of Shehbaz and the request was granted by Presiding Judge Sajiad Ali.

In the reference of Ramzan Sugar Mills, the court directed the counsel for the suspects to conduct cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses on the next hearing on Nov 26.

The counsel had requested the court that he wanted to cross examine the witnesses in the presence of Shehbaz.

In its reference, the NAB alleged that Shehbaz, being Punjab chief minister, had issued a directive for the construction of a drain in Chiniot district mainly for the use of Ramzan Sugar Mills owned by his sons.

It said Rs200 million was spent on construction of the drain from the public money.

In the other reference of Punjab Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme, the court adjourned hearing till Nov 26 and sought arguments from the prosecution on the acquittal applications of several co-suspects.

Former head of the Lahore Development Authority Ahad Khan Cheema, former principal secretary to prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad are also suspects in the housing scheme reference.

The NAB alleged that the suspects caused a huge loss to the national exchequer by awarding contract of the housing scheme to a company without bidding.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2021

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