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November 16, 2020

Shahbaz, sons booked in Rs25 bn money laundering cases

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November 16, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has registered an FIR against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif and his sons Hamza Shahbaz and Suleman Shahbaz under Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010 on Nov 14.

"During the course of enquiry No.T34/2020 of FIA ACC Lahore, it was revealed that total deposits amounting to over Rs25 billion (duration 2008-2018), identified so far, were received in bank accounts (hereinafter A/C) of various low-wage employees of Ramzan Sugar Mills Ltd (RSML), AI-Arabia Sugar Mills Ltd (ASML) and accounts of fake companies set up and controlled by the Sharif Group. Rs3.7 billion in 20J6/l7 in accounts of a peon namely Malik Maqsood working at office of MD Suleman Shahbaz at Sharif Group's Corporate Office, Model Town Lahore," revealed the FIA findings.

The findings revealed that the low-wage employees of RSML/ASML have admitted during inquiry that these accounts were opened and operated for the personal/secret transactions of Suleman Shahbaz Sharif on the instructions of Muhammad Usman, CFO of Sharif Group. Mushtaq Cheeniwala has provided ’secret-ledgers' as a proof to show that the money from undisclosed safe of sugar deposited into these accounts is only Rs3.95 billion implying therein that the source of remaining funds is ’extraneous’ to sugar business and can best be explained by Shahbaz Sharif and his sons and RSML/ASML officers who managed these accounts. Vouchers, cheques and money-trail of deposits into these accounts have revealed that money was being deposited by various people including politicians at various political affiliations, contractors, petroleum dealers, pharmaceutical vendors, flour and rice mills owners not related to sugar-business. One of the politicians has disclosed that cheques amounting to Rs14 million were given to Shahbaz Sharif, in lieu of party ticket, but does not know how those cheques got deposited into the account of Gulzar Ahmed Khan - a deceased peon of RSML. He has further said that he is afraid of the Sharif family and cannot give it in writing. However, the fact is that his cheques got deposited into the account of peon Gulzar Ahmed Khan (late), read the investigation. Suleman Shahbaz Sharif has also denied all the allegations saying, "These allegations are wild witch hunt and politically motivated. Frankly, I would not want to waste my time on what FIA is doing and intends to do with me."

Meanwhile, the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) arrested former MNA of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Malik Abdul Ghaffar Dogar from Multan over charges of illegally occupying a citizen’s property.

In line with special directives of the provincial government, the ACE has launched a crackdown against corrupt elements across the province. On the application of the deputy commissioner, the ACE team arrested former PML-N MNA.

According to the ACE, Kaneez Akhtar sold a house of one kanal and one marla to Bushra Sultana in 2001 which was later sold to Mazhar Javed. The then owner Mazhar Javed was defaulter of a bank and the bank announced auction of his house. The accused Abdul Ghaffar Dogar allegedly submitted fake documents of the house claiming ownership from 1998, but registry number of 2001 was mentioned on the document. The ACE arrested the accused for illegally occupying the house, submitting fake documents and cause loss to the bank. The ACE sources said that crackdown against corrupt elements would continue across the province without any discrimination.