–Nawaz failed to provide money trail, Fawad hails ‘historic’ verdict
–Zardari looted 35% of Sindh’s Rs2,000bn developmental budget with CM Murad’s help, alleges Fawad
–Shahzad Akbar claims a fake bank was made to get govt contracts, establish ‘Zardari system’
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Monday hailed the ‘historic’ verdict against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, adding that he has only been acquitted by the accountability court in Flagship Investment corruption case on “technical grounds”.
Speaking to media in Islamabad hours after the accountability court sentenced Nawaz to seven years in prison in the Al-Azizia corruption case, the information minister said that the PML-N supremo has been acquitted in the other reference because his sons didn’t appear before the court.
“[Nawaz’s] children proved to be so unworthy that they did not even appear [in court] for their father’s defence,” Fawad told reporters. “Nawaz cannot be arrested until Hasan Nawaz is sentenced.”
“The children of a three-time prime minister have taken the position that they are not Pakistani citizens,” he added.
“As per the NAB law, if a person is unable to justify the sources of his earnings then that amount is considered as corruption,” he said, adding that Nawaz Sharif was unable to provide money trail for his assets, therefore, he was sentenced to seven years in prison.
The information minister congratulated the nation for the recent verdict against Nawaz.
“Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s birthday is coming in a day. Jinnah has always spoken against financial malpractices,” he said. “Today, mafias are being unveiled.”
Fawad called the accountability court’s decision “historic”. The information minister said that the people who are still defending Nawaz Sharif should be ashamed of themselves because the money involved in the scam belongs to the people of Pakistan.
“In 1992, a law was made that the source of money won’t be asked for the funds coming from abroad, but according to the NAB law section 9 it is mandatory to prove the source of income,” he said.
Fawad said that Nawaz failed to give money trail to the parliament or before the court of law.
“Fake companies were made for money laundering,” he added.
‘MURAD ALLEGED OF MONEY LAUNDERING’:
The information minister further accused Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah of being involved in the money laundering scam. “Zardari has looted 35 per cent of Rs2,000 billion provincial developmental budget,” Fawad said in reference to the recent JIT report submitted to the Supreme Court.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar said that Zardari’s corruption and money laundering has become a test case.
“We should commend the probe. The 800-900-word JIT report has exposed customs department in Sindh. Even a fake bank was made to get contracts,” he said.
Akbar said that as many as Rs9 billion were deposited in the fake bank through illegal and fake accounts.
“No substantive action was taken on fake accounts case from 2015-17. The FIA started investigations on the case from December 2017,” he said.
The JIT detected 59 suspicious transactions in the interview with 924 people, the cabinet member said.
Akbar said that the report mentions a man, named Mushtaq, who used to take model Ayyan Ali to the airport. The man was given a 12-grade government job when Zardari became president, he claimed.
“When we asked about Mushtaq we were told that he is Zardari’s masseur,” he remarked. “The Sindh government gives special subsidy to the Omni group. The group received loans from the National Bank and Sindh Bank in the name of fake companies.”
The premier’s assistant said, “The JIT report has revealed the presence of a ‘Zardari system’ functioning across Sindh to facilitate corruption through fake accounts.”
Talking about the contents of the JIT report, Akbar said a separate chapter has been dedicated to Summit Bank which was established to conceal corruption.
The JIT’s findings linked the fake bank accounts to Zardari, claiming that the PPP co-chairman’s personal expenses were also paid through the accounts’ funds.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court banned the trading and transfers of the properties of the Zardari Group, Bahria Town and Omni Group which are mentioned in a report submitted by the JIT probing the fake bank accounts case.
The report stated that payments for the upkeep of Bilawal House’s pets and for 28 sacrificial goats were also made through the said fake bank accounts.
Furthermore, the JIT report claimed that the expenses of the Zardari family’s residences in both Karachi and Lahore were paid through fake bank accounts.