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December 19, 2020

FIA grills Shahbaz over money laundering case in jail

Top Story

December 19, 2020

LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) interrogated PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif in a money-laundering case in the Kot Lakhpat Jail here on Friday.

Sources said the FIA’s Anti-Corruption Wing has lodged a money-laundering case worth Rs25 billion against Shahbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shahbaz. The FIA wing wrote a letter to jail authorities to investigate Shahbaz in jail. An FIA team has already interrogated Hamza in jail on December 17.

Sources said the FIA investigation team asked five questions from Shahbaz. It questioned Shahbaz about his and his family's offshore property, the sources said, adding that the investigation team also inquired Shahbaz about the transaction of Rs 5 billion to the accounts of his low-grade employees and clerks of the Ramzan Sugar Mills.

The sources said Shahbaz told the FIA team that he had not committed corruption of a single rupee. Replying to a question regarding sending money abroad through Hawala and Hundi, he said he didn’t ever transact any money through Hundi and Hawala. The sources said Shahbaz told the FIA team that the work of maintaining the accounts of the company is the responsibility of the chief financial officer.

He said he is not aware that any money was transferred to the accounts of peons and other employees. He said all records related to his property abroad have already been mentioned in his financial statements.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb termed the FIA probe a proof of failure of the NAB-Niazi nexus and said that after failing to find any proof in one and a half years, now the government is using the FIA. She said the FIA will also fail to prove any allegations against Shahbaz because he has not done any corruption. She said the time is coming to send this paralyzed government home.

She said a recent report on petroleum inquiry is another undeniable proof of the theft of the government, which has already stolen sugar, flour, electricity, gas, medicines and oil from people. Reacting to the FIA's move to launch a probe against Shahbaz and Hamza, she said the FIA was deputed to reinvestigate the same old allegations about which the NAB failed to provide any evidence in courts.

The PML-N spokesperson said Imran Khan has been badly exposed to the public. “Now people know that the NAB-Niazi nexus has vanished after the Supreme Court sought evidence against Shahbaz,” she said, adding that people also saw that the NAB fled the Lahore High Court at the stage of presenting evidence and to date, it has failed to present any evidence against Shahbaz in courts.

In response to the petroleum inquiry report, she said the country is running by drug, sugar, flour, electricity, gas and oil mafias.

“The Imran mafia has plundered the wheat of Rs 225 billion and the same mafia filled its pockets with sugar worth Rs 400 billion.” She said the circular debt of electricity has reached the highest level of Rs 2,360 billion. She said the Imran mafia looted billions of rupees meant for medicine. She asked why Imran Khan is buying LNG of $4 for $19. The country is witnessing the worst gas load-shedding.

“After closing the stoves of the poor due to inflation, now the stoves of the people have been extinguished due to the disappearance of gas,” she maintained.

She said the Ministry of Petroleum is handing over Rs 122 billion to LNG thieves. “Imran Sahib, you are the mastermind and responsible for all these thefts,” she alleged and slammed the prime minister for increasing the country’s debt by more than Rs 14,000 billion in two and a half years. An increase of 25% in electricity tariffs is tantamount to dropping bombs on the citizens, she said and concluded that the time has come to send this corrupt and incompetent government home.