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Pakistan

APP
January 31, 2020

SAPM accuses Maryam of receiving Rs560m in kickbacks from Islamabad Airport contractor

Pakistan

APP
Fri, Jan 31, 2020
Prime Minister Imran Khan's special assistant on accountability, Shahzad Akbar, addresses a press conference at PID Media Centre in Islamabad, Pakistan, January 30, 2020. APP/Sadia Haideri

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan's special assistant on accountability, Shahzad Akbar, on Thursday claimed that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz had received kickbacks worth Rs560 million from the Islamabad International Airport's (IIAP) contractor.

Addressing a press conference here in the federal capital, Akbar said Mian Munir, the father-in-law of Maryam's daughter and an IIAP contractor, transferred kickbacks worth Rs 560 million to the bank accounts of the PML-N leader's Chaudhry Sugar Mills.

Maryam owns 45 percent shares in Chaudhry Sugar Mills.

In June 2015, Munir’s Technical Associates — which was among the IIAP's three contractors — also transferred Rs50 million to the account of Shujaat Azeem, the adviser to the then-PM Nawaz Sharif, the special assistant said.

Akbar added that Chaudhry Sugar Mills benefited further in May 2017 when Technical Associates transferred another Rs310 million into its accounts using various bank accounts. Likewise, in December 2017, Rs250 million was transferred into its account, he added.

He said Nawaz Sharif, Maryam's father who had declared assets worth Rs1.3 million, had established Chaudhry Sugar Mills with over Rs5.6-billion assets in 1991. How had the former premier set up the mill with meagre assets, he asked.

Akbar said Chadron Jersey Limited, an offshore company established by former finance minister Ishaq Dar in 1991 in the UK and France, had obtained $15 million in loan from Faysal Investment Bank to import plants and machinery for Chaudhry Sugar Mills.

However, machinery manufactured by Ittefaq Foundry was installed at Chaudhry Sugar Mills and Rs398 million was loaned again by Faysal Investment Bank for it.

Akbar said a special permission had been obtained from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to transfer $20 million abroad into Chadron Jersey's accounts. According to the investigation agencies, transactions to the effect were made to the UK between 1995 and 1999.

The Chaudhry Sugar Mills apparently had no resources to pay back such huge loans, while that amount was stashed abroad, he added.

According to the website of World Bank’s Star Programme, Nawaz was the real owner of Chadron Jersey Limited, which had the same address as his nine other offshore companies involved in money laundering that surfaced in the Panama Papers, the SAPM said.

The special assistant said Dar had opened six fake accounts in Bank of America — now Standard Chartered Bank — by using the Qazi family's passports and deposited $15.37 million (from Nawaz) in them. Those accounts were shifted to Faysal Bank in 1994 and were used as collateral to obtain another loan worth Rs80 million for Chaudhry Sugar Mills.

Dar also received a loan worth Rs35 million loan from the same bank that had also financed Rs70 million to Hamza Board Mills Limited, he said, adding that the former finance minister had confessed in 2000 that the Qazi family had no links to the accounts opened in their names.

Akbar said Khawaja Zubair Ahmed of Pak Punjab Carpets had obtained from the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Mehran Bank a loan worth Rs65 million, which was then transferred to Chaudhry Sugar Mills' accounts. It later swelled to Rs105 million owing to the mark-up and was written off by the SBP in 1998, he added.

The SAPM said the $15.37-million sum deposited in the Qazi family’s fake accounts was laundered to Dubai while former NBP president Saeed Ahmed had also laundered $3.75 million to Dubai, he added.

A fake foreign telegraphic transfer (TT) worth $19 million in the name of Siddiqua Syed was credited to Chaudhry Sugar Mills' accounts in 1998, he said. Likewise, another TT worth $1.25 million in the name of a Saudi national, Hani Ahmed, was also transferred to the Mills' accounts in 2001.

Similarly, he said, a TT of $1.25 million in the name of Nasir Abdullah Lootha was credited to Ramzan Sugar Mills' accounts in 2001. It was transferred into Chaudhry Sugar Mills' accounts in 2008.

A Rs33-million TT using the name of Makhdoom Umer Shehryar from Lahore was also transferred into Chaudhry Sugar Mills' accounts in 2011, he added. It was sent in the name of Umer from Dubai.

Akbar said investigators had detected that proceeds from three fake loans had been transferred into the accounts of Chaudhry Sugar Mills' director in 2010.

He said Nawaz's younger son, Hassan, in 2010 obtained a $1-million loan from Chaudhry Sugar Mills; however, he was not qualified for it as he had tendered his resignation as its director in 1995. Despite no resources, Yousaf Abbas Sharif transferred Rs1 billion from 2010 to 2018 and Abdul Aziz Abbas Sharif transferred Rs30 million in 2013 into Chaudhry Sugar Mills' accounts as loans.

Later, the investigations revealed that the amounts were transferred into their accounts through TTs from Dubai, he added.