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Friday February 23, 2024

Action against Shahbaz to set example: Shahzad

By our correspondents
September 24, 2020

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Adviser to PM on Interior Shahzad Akbar Wednesday said that Shahbaz Sharif is a ringleader of money laundering and he will be made an example.

He said that the TT case of money laundering against Shahbaz Sharif and his family has entered the Accountability Court, Lahore and it is very unfortunate that his niece expelled her uncle from the party on his birthday today.

Speaking here at news conference, he said that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had received reports of suspicious transactions, which led to an investigation into money laundering and now in the light of all the evidence and documentary evidence, the reference by name is with the Accountability Court, Lahore.

Shahzad Akbar said it is strongest ever case in the history of NAB till date as it consists of 55 volumes and 25 thousand pages.

He said that it contains all the documentary proof including banking evidence, which is simple one, the Securities and Exchange Commission company records, tax and Election Commission records, foreign exchange, swift messages, Form R and other things.

When the US introduced legislation on money laundering in the late 1990s, he pointed out that one of the four cases cited was unfortunately taken from Pakistan and that was a case of money laundering by Asif Ali Zardari.

He said that if anyone had to study money laundering today, it would be the TT mafia case, which would set as an example, as it is a detailed investigation to which the credit goes to the NAB investigation team.

Shahzad Akbar said that in this 55 volume and 25 thousand pages reference, 16 accused have been named in which 6 family members including Shahbaz Sharif are the head of this ring, besides they have children whose money laundering has taken place in the name while there are 10 facilitators who have been assisting them to run this money laundering net.

He said that four persons were also named in the case who were ready to become witnesses and assisted the prosecution by informing them of their role in the case and testified against Shahbaz Sharif & family.

Shahzad Akbar said that three unnamed companies are also part of the reference, one is Good Nature Trading Private Company Limited, which was formed in the name of Nisar Gul and Ali Ahmed. Nisar Gul had been the Director Political Affairs of Shahbaz Sharif for 10 years in the Chief Minister's House. However, Ali Ahmed remained the director of strategy. Nisar Ahmed Gill is in custody while Ali Ahmed is a fugitive.

Money laundering of billions of rupees, he noted, was done in this case and the reference showed direct evidence of how it was linked to Shahbaz Sharif or his family. He continued that the second unnamed company is called ‘Unitas Steel’, in which these two persons are named and the third person is Tahir Naqvi who is the assistant manager in Sharif Group of Companies.

Shahzad Akbar said that the third unnamed company is Nisar Trading Company and this company is registered in the name of Rashid Karamat who is a purchase assistant in Sharif Group of Companies, his salary is Rs18,000 to Rs20,000 and billions of rupees came into his account.

However, kickbacks and commissions were also collected in this company because when they had a government in Punjab, money was collected from various contractors and party people and their statements are also part of the record that they bought party tickets. The question arises as to why the money was being deposited in Nisar Trading and why it was not being deposited in the PML-N's party fund.

He said that the second thing is positions are given in PLM-N by paying money. And some instances are quite obvious; one person was appointed in Baitul Mal, Punjab and he gave Rs10 million to Hamza Shahbaz, which he deposited in Nisar Trading.

“As many as 177 fake foreign remittances, which we call TT in common parlance are part of the reference that I thought I would read out because today is also Shahbaz Sharif's birthday so I thought it was his birthday and I should give him a gift,” he quipped.

He said that international money laundering was carried out in a systematic manner through 177 fake foreign remittances and NAB analysed that the black money obtained from money laundering was used by Shahbaz Sharif. He claimed that the customs duty of his imported Land Cruiser was paid to him from fake accounts. Two different houses were bought in DHA Phase 5, Lahore and they were also paid from these fake foreign remittances and also Whispering Pine Villas, which he also gave as a gift to his wife, which had also been paid by him.

Shahzad Akbar said that the deeds of Hamza Shahbaz are also listed in it who received money directly from various contractors, party officials and businessmen of Punjab and their trusted employees Shoaib Qamar and Masroor Anwar in cash and they used to carry cheques and are currently in custody. While explaining the details, he said that for more than 50,000 transactions, a copy of the identity card has to be submitted to the bank and that is how he came to know about it, so his Oxford-educated children are advised to do money laundering in the future. “Get a car, not all education comes from Oxford, but if you go to a tote school, you can't get caught.”

He also revealed the FIA is now investigating the Sugar Commission and the laundering of Rs9.5 billion in Ramzan Sugar Mill alone has been revealed and in it he has forged accounts. He said that money laundering of Rs9.5 billion was done using the bank accounts of 11 employees. This is just an investigation report of a sugar mill and it is not known how billions of rupees were laundered.

He said that Ramzan Sugar Mill came in favor of Shahbaz Sharif after the family settlement. Shahbaz Sharif himself was in politics so he handed over the management of the mill to his sons Hamza and Salman Shahbaz so they are directly responsible.

Shahzad Akbar asked Shahbaz Sharif four questions whether his sons Salman Shahbaz and Hamza Shahbaz did not run the system of corruption and kickbacks in Punjab from 2008 to 2018 on his initiative.

He also asked whether it was not true that in order to legalise the money of this corruption, he had set up a money laundering network which he had assigned to Salman Shahbaz on a daily basis.

He asked whether it was not right that he occasionally withdrew money from this black money to benefit from it, such as buying Whispering Pine villas, DHA houses and he imported Land Cruiser and customs duty was also paid.

The last question, he asked was that how and with what money his family was living in London currently meeting their expenses and what their business in UK was.

He requested Shahbaz Sharif to answer these questions honestly. “If he does not answer, I will tell you in the coming days what he is doing in London,” he remarked.

He said it was very unfortunate that the niece kicked the uncle out of the party on his birthday.

Meanwhile, PML-N President and Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif has warned Prime Minister Imran Khan to perpetrate cruelty of such level that he could bear himself.

Flanked by senior party leaders including former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Marriyum Aurangzeb and others, the opposition leader said that fate could change anytime.

He said he and Nawaz Sharif are siding together and would play their role in putting the country back on the path to progress.

Grilling the government for victimising his family, he stated that he used to appear before courts alone but now his daughter is also facing courts with him. He said the government's grudge against its rivals is not witnessing any end, but jails and hardships are not new for them.

Predicting a similar fate for Imran Khan, Shahbaz said he would certainly face Makafaat-e-Amal. He said that rather than putting the country on the track to progress, Imran has pushed it backwards. The government has turned the country into Baldia Factory. Imran himself benefitted from the amnesty scheme and Imran and the Punjab chief minister's name are attributed to cases like Malam Jabba, BRT, sugar scandal but no action has been taken against them.

Shahbaz claimed Imran could go home in a money-laundering case and 23 fake account cases were brought to surface by the Election Commission of Pakistan and the State Bank of Pakistan. He said delay in the Peshawar BRT project caused a loss of billions to the national exchequer. The Metro Orange Train Project has been facing a delay for the last two years whereas under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, the country saved billions. He said Rana Sanaullah laid the foundation of the Safe City Project and was implicated in a fabricated case of Bhang and drugs.

He said it was the PML-N that founded the Sahiwal Coal Project of 1300MW and it was completed in first six months that saved Rs225 billion of public money. Regarding allegations of corruption against him, he said that not a single penny was proved in the court. He challenged the government to come up with a single proof of corruption against him and if proven, he would accept any punishment. He said his body should be hanged from a pole even after his death if any irregularity is proven against him.

He said the government has made the lives of people miserable. Commodities like Atta and sugar have disappeared from markets and the country is facing an oil crisis, but the Niazi government is busy hiding its scandals and wrongdoings. He told media about his 70th birthday and said he has turned 70, not 72.