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June 20, 2019

LHC’s notice to NAB for 26th over Cheeni’s bail plea


June 20, 2019

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court Wednesday issued notice to the NAB over the bail petition of Mushtaq Cheeni, an alleged frontman of arrested Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz and his brother Salman Shahbaz in money-laundering case.

During preliminary hearing, the petitioner’s counsel told a two-judge bench that his client had been sent to jail on judicial remand by an accountability court. He said Cheeni had become an approver in the case against Hamza and Salman and recorded his confessional statement before a judicial magistrate concerned. The counsel argued that the NAB no more required the petitioner in the case and keeping him behind bars will serve no purpose. Therefore, he asked the court to release the petitioner on bail.

After hearing initial arguments, the bench comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem issued a notice to the NAB for June 26. Cheeni in his confessional statement claimed to have laundered money over Rs600 million for Hamza and his brother.

The approver said he had been working for the two brothers since they started looking after their family business of sugar in 2005. Cheeni was a wholesale dealer for Ramzan Sugar Mills and Hamza and Salman used to receive foreign remittances through bank accounts of his company—Mushtaq & Co.

The NAB alleged that Hamza maintained various accounts in different banks in which credit turnover of Rs500 million was observed during the years 2006 to 2017. It claimed that Hamza received fictitious foreign remittances of Rs181 million in one of his bank accounts, Rs2.11 billion in the accounts of his brother Salman, mother Nusrat, ‘benamidars’ and employees of their companies. At present, Hamza is in custody of the NAB while Salman is out of country.

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