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February 16, 2020

NAB raids Sharif family companies’ offices

Top Story

February 16, 2020

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) teams raided the offices of the Sharif family-owned businesses in Model Town to collect evidence pertaining to cases of money laundering and ‘benamidar’ accounts against former chief minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif.

According to the search warrant, NAB officials raided the offices located at 55-K and F-91 in Model Town on Saturday noon in order to take into possession important record with regard to TT-scandal against Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) President and opposition leader in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif under investigation by the anti-graft body.

A judicial magistrate had permitted search of both the properties as well as any other offices of the companies, owned by the accused in the case. The search was aimed at recovering documents “vital for logical conclusion of the case”, according to search warrants.

The NAB officials confiscated computers and laptops during the raids and also took possession of important documents, as they were looking for record pertaining to Unitas, Waqar Trading and other companies. “The benami companies for money-laundering were allegedly being operated from the office at 55-K, Model Town,” sources said.

Earlier, in January 2018 when the PML-N was in power, NAB had received a Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) report describing huge suspicious transactions in billions of rupees in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills under Anti-Money Laundering Act. The inquiry, however, was started in October 2018.

The officials also recovered important documents from the offices of Suleman Shahbaz, Shahbaz Sharif’s son, and Muhammad Usman, Chief Financial Officer of the Sharif Group of Industries.

PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb alleged that NAB officials conducted raids at the Sharif family properties without prior notices in this regard.

She said that NAB had failed to prove any corruption against the Sharif family during the past 18 months. Viewing the raids as a political vengeance at the behest of Prime Minister Imran Khan, she termed the raids an attempt to divert attention from the corruption of Federal Minister Khusro Bakhtiar and Jehangir Khan Tareen in wheat and sugar crises. “NAB should also raid the mills belonging to the PTI leaders Khusro Bakhtiar and Jehangir Tareen,” she said.

PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah, while addressing a press conference at party’s secretariat at 180-H Model Town on Saturday, termed raids ‘disappointing’, and advised NAB to act within the limits of the constitution and law. “The investigations should not be carried out on the basis of vengeance or personal agendas,” he said, adding that the continuation of such acts will widen rifts among the political parties which can be counterproductive for the country’s progress.

PML-N Punjab leaders Attaullah Tarar and Azma Bukhari termed the NAB raids a dacoity, while alleging that NAB officials had made CCTV cameras dysfunctional before conducting search in the offices.