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October 11, 2019

New case ready for Nawaz : NAB to arrest ex-PM from jail today

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October 11, 2019

LAHORE: A new money-laundering case is ready for former premier Nawaz Sharif and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is likely to arrest him from jail on Friday (today) and present him in a court of law for securing his physical remand.

According to NAB, the accused committed money-laundering for purchasing shares in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM). Nawaz Sharif is currently incarcerated in the Kot Lakhpat Jail after his conviction in the Avenfield Reference. Maryam Nawaz, daughter of Nawaz Sharif, is also on judicial remand in the same jail in connection with the CSM money-laundering case investigation. Another family member, Yousaf Abbas, a nephew of Nawaz Sharif, is in the Camp Jail on judicial remand in the same case.

It has been learnt that NAB Lahore decided to arrest Nawaz Sharif after taking permission from an accountability court to investigate him in the Kot Lakhpat jail. On Thursday, the NAB Lahore, through its Prosecutor Hafiz Asad, pleaded with an accountability court that the Bureau wanted to interrogate Nawaz Sharif in the CSM case. The prosecutor stated that Nawaz could not appear in the NAB office as a prisoner, therefore, the court should allow the Bureau to investigate him in jail. He argued that the Bureau had found some documents proving that Nawaz Sharif was adirect beneficiary of the CSM. After which the NAB chairman issued arrest warrants for Nawaz Sharif. The court, after hearing NAB prosecutor and witnessing the documents presented by NAB, allowed the Bureau to investigate Nawaz Sharif in jail.

However, sources in the Bureau claimed that NAB officials would arrest Nawaz Sharif as they had concrete evidence of his involvement in money-laundering, and he was a direct beneficiary of the CSM.

Sources told The News that a NAB team would reach the Kot Lakhpat jail on Friday and hand over the arrest warrants to Nawaz Sharif and take him into custody officially. Moreover, NAB Prosecutor Hafiz Asadullah will place an application before the court seeking a 15-day physical remand of Nawaz Sharif. If the court allowed physical custody, Nawaz would be shifted to the NAB Lahore office, sources added.

Earlier, on August 8, NAB had arrested PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz in an investigation related to alleged money laundering for purchasing shares in the CSM. As per details of Chaudhry Sugar Mills money-laundering investigation, NAB, in January 2018, received a Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) report showing huge suspicious transactions worth billions of rupees under the Anti-Money Laundering Act. In January 2018, the PML-N was ruling the country. After receiving the FMU report, NAB started an inquiry in Oct 2018, and found that Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Shahbaz Sharif and family, Abbas Sharif and family were shareholders in the company, along with some foreigners from the United Arab Emirate (UAE) and the United Kingdom (UK).

During probe, it was revealed that huge investments were made in the CSM from 2001 to 2017 in the name of issuing shares for foreigners. Interestingly, later on, same shares of the company were transferred back to Maryam, Hussain and Nawaz Sharif at different occasions without paying any money to the said foreign business partners.

Maryam, in her appearance before the NAB combined investigation team, failed to establish her business links with the foreign nationals including Saeed Saif Bin Jabar Al-Suweidi, a UAE national, Sheikh Zakauddin, a UK national, Hani Ahmad Jamjoom, a Saudi national, and Naseer Abdullah Lootah, a UAE national, after which she was arrested.

NAB sources said investigators had come to a conclusion that names of the foreigners were used as proxies to make huge investments in the company as the Sharif family did not have white money for investment. They alleged that the Chaudhry Sugar Mills investigation was a classic case of money-laundering.

Moreover, NAB is investigating all members of the Shahbaz family for alleged money-laundering and owning assets beyond known sources of means. NAB had also summoned Hassan and Hussain, but both did not appear as they are absconders in the Avenfield case and are living in London. Suleman Shahbaz is also an absconder in Ramzan Sugar Mills money-laundering and assets beyond means investigations and is living with his cousins in London.

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