LAHORE : An accountability court has reserved its verdict on the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) request to secure physical remand of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif in an assets beyond means and money-laundering case.
Shehbaz denied any wrongdoing and argued his case himself in the court.
Earlier, the opposition leader in the National Assembly, who spoke to the media after arriving at the court, said that his party will fight the “NAB-Niazi nexus”.
“NAB-Niazi nexus has failed, we will fight it,” said Shehbaz.
On Monday, NAB had arrested the former Punjab chief minister after the Lahore High Court (LHC) rejected his interim pre-arrest bail.
NAB case against Shehbaz
The anti-graft body has claimed that the assets of Shehbaz’s family ballooned from Rs2 million to Rs7 billion in the last 30 years, which they have failed to justify, The News reported on Tuesday.
This was detailed by the NAB in a document, which showed that in 1990, the opposition leader’s declared assets were worth Rs2.121 million which had grown to Rs7,328 million by 2018.
The NAB stated that in the year 1990, Shahbaz had declared his net assets at Rs2.121 million, whereas his net assets (including the assets of his minor children) had increased to Rs14.865 million in the year 1998.
‘Organised system of money-laundering’
The anti-corruption watchdog alleged that the PML-N president, in connivance with his co-accused family members, benamidars, front men, close associates, employees and money changers, developed an organised system of money-laundering for the accumulation of assets disproportionate to his known sources of income to the tune of Rs7,328 million.
After holding the public office (mostly during the years 2008 and 2018 when Shehbaz was the chief minister Punjab), his family acquired assets worth Rs 7,328 million, the NAB added.
While sharing the details of assets of the opposition leader, NAB Lahore further claimed that the Shehbaz family invested Rs2,770 million in 13 newly-established companies under the umbrella of the Sharif Group of Companies naming the few as M/s Sharif Feed, M/s Chiniot Power, M/s Al-Arabia Sugar Mills, M/s Sharif Dairy Farms, etc, without having known sources of income.
The accused established benami companies namely M/s Good Nature Trading Company Pvt Ltd, M/s Unitas Steel Pvt Ltd, M/s Waqar Trading Company and M/s Nisar Trading Concern (held in the name of Nisar Ahmad and Ali Ahmad, employees of the CM Secretariat) to launder disproportionate funds of Rs2,400.088 million. The accused also acquired properties including foreign assets along with 96-H, Model Town, Lahore, Nishat Lodge Doonga Gali, Villas at Whispering Pines, houses at DHA, Lahore worth Rs619.858 million.
The NAB claimed that to justify the alleged ill-gotten assets of Rs7,328 million, the accused and his family members/benamidars showed foreign remittances of Rs1,597 million and loans of Rs1,010 million, which proved to be fake as the remitters denied having sent any amount to the accused or his family members.
Moreover, loans were falsely shown as the source, while the lenders paid the employees of the Sharif Group, the NAB added.
‘Assets Rs7,328 million, income Rs584.444 million’
The statement added that the value of the Shahbaz Sharif family’s disproportionate assets acquired through laundered money comes to the tune of Rs6,122 million, with a present value of Rs7,328 million in the year 2018, whereas the total known sources of Shahbaz and his family were Rs584.444 million.
The aforesaid assets of the accused and his family members were found to be disproportionate to their known sources of income, it claimed.
The NAB concluded that during investigations, the declared and undeclared assets of the accused have been identified, for which they could not account for, as the sources of income claimed by them proved to be fictitious and unknown.