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December 6, 2019

Shahbaz Sharif, family face new charges

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December 6, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar on Thursday alleged that the PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif was involved in corruption worth billions of rupees, claiming his assets had grown by 70 per cent during the last 10 years.

Speaking to reporters here along with Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed, he emphasised that in the past 10 years, Shahbaz and his family’s assets had grown by 70 percent and this came to light as a result of a NAB investigation into his assets in 2015.

He said Shahbaz Sharif’s son Salman Shahbaz's assets also grew by thousands of times, whereas a startling increase was witnessed in assets owned by his other son Hamza Shahbaz. He also accused Shahbaz Sharif of establishing 32 fake companies with the money brought back through the TT transactions.

He pointed out that three employees of Shahbaz's GMC Company were identified, who were found involved in running this multi-billion rupee network, while its employees were working at the CM Secretariat on different posts.

He claimed one Nisar Gul, who was in the NAB custody, had admitted that this was a fake company through which they laundered Rs07 billion. Shahzad Akbar put 18 questions to the PML-N president and challenged him to respond to them.

He also called on the NAB to probe the Goo Nature Trading Company under which billions were money laundered through the fake TTs. He explained that the GMC emerged when investigation was carried out against the assets of Sharif family. He said through over 200 TTs, billions were ‘transferred’.

He said various measures were taken to show this ‘wealth’ as legal and even fake TTs were made, using names of poor citizens. He explained that corruption was carried out during Shahbaz's tenure as the Punjab chief minister.

Substantiating his presentation with the help of charts, he noted that their entire fortune had been built by funneling money from kickbacks into their personal accounts, before injecting them into their own companies to show as sales revenue.

Shahzad Akbar noted that during this period, Shahbaz's assets rose by 70 per cent, while his son Salman's increased by 8,000 per cent. However, despite their repeated claims of innocence, the Sharifs had not been able to provide a single shred of evidence.

Referring to an article, he said it was published in a leading British daily alleging that Shahbaz had embezzled funds provided by the UK's Department for International Development.

He said the former chief minister was surprisingly silent on the issue despite his initial response.

The special assistant claimed that so many facts had been revealed in the recent days. About Shahbaz’s claims of taking a legal action against the daily, Shahzad Akbar said he had not given a specific answer to any of the allegations levelled against him.

The questions put to Shahbaz include: was Nisar Gull not director for political affairs for the chief minister Punjab and Malik Ali Ahmad was the policy-making office-bearer? Were not these two your front-men? Where not these two the owners of paper company Good Nature Trading? Had not Nisar Gull got written on the banking account opening form his post as advisor to the chief minister and the address was the Chief Minister Office? Had not Nisar Gull gone on different tours along with your son Salman Shahbaz, including London, Dubai and Qatar? Had not both transferred massive amounts in your account? Had not you bought two villas in Whispering Pines for your spouse Tehmina Durrani Sharif? Were not Shoaib Qamar and Masroor Anwar your cash boys had transferred billions into the accounts of Hamza Shahbaz and Salman from GMC? Were not millions transferred into your peon Malik Maqsood’s account?

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) Country Head Usman Ahmed Thursday said the NAB and NCA had jointly recovered the looted amount from corrupt elements and this would continue in future also, as recoveries were only possible through collective efforts.

“The recovery process would be expedited in the coming future. The United Kingdom is working closely with Pakistan for eradication of corruption, as it could only be checked by punishing the corrupt elements,” he said while addressing an anti-corruption seminar organised by the NAB Rawalpindi here in connection with International Anti Corruption Day.

He said corruption affected every person and weakened the economy. “Corruption also violates basic human rights besides increasing poverty,” he said. He said economy could be strengthened by recovering the looted money.

He said the anti corruption departments of Pakistan and United Kingdom exchanged corruption related information on a daily basis. He said Pakistan had won many corruption cases in the UK.

He said effective monitoring was key for eradicating corruption. “An International Centre has been established in UK and this Centre is also extending cooperation for fighting corruption cases,” he said.

He said Pakistan and the UK were working on sharing data on corrupt elements. Director General NAB Rawalpindi Irfan Naeem Mangi said the NAB was working on a three-pronged policy to eradicate corruption by enhancing awareness, enforcement and eradication.

He said Pakistani and foreign institutions were closely working on eradication of corruption. “Anti corruption measures are being taken against the corrupt mafia at all levels,” he said.

He said the NAB had taken action against former prime ministers and presidents on allegation of corruption. For the first time in history action is being taken against influential persons, he added.

He regretted that some elements criticised NAB without any cogent reason. “Indeed, all such cases are referred to the NAB by the Supreme Court,” he added. He said NAB officers were performing their duties honestly and taking action against the corrupt as national duty and without caring about their social status.

“The NAB has no affiliation with any particular group or individual but is performing its duties as per law. The NAB has firm resolve to purge the country of corruption. He said in the past corrupt elements had to face the wrath of society through social boycott but now time had changed and such elements were given respect due to their wealth.

Collective behaviour need drastic change in this regard, he added. Mangi said the NAB gave very importance to the youth in its corruption eradication campaign. “Our youths are playing an important role in enhancing awareness about corruption,” he said.