New money-laundering case adds to Hamza’s woes


–NAB opens up probe against PML-N president’s sons for laundering large sums of money


ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB has arrested two individuals Qasim Qayyum and Fazal Dad Abbasi for facilitating the Sharif family, particularly Shehbaz Sharif, his sons Hamza and Suleman Shehbaz, in laundering huge chunks of money in the name of “remittances”.

In an application submitted to an accountability judge seeking remand of the accused, NAB said it had launched an inquiry against the Sharif family in October last year for their alleged involvement in corrupt practices after an SBP [State Bank of Pakistan] report, dated Jan 12, 2018, revealed “suspicious and cash transactions in the bank accounts of Shehbaz and his sons”.

In the light of ongoing probe, NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal on April 3 approved arrest warrants of Qayyum and Abbasi; both were arrested on April 4 after one day. The duo was then produced in a Lahore accountability court, which allowed NAB to take them into custody for 15 days to further investigate into the alleged scam.

“Qayyum and Abbasi are involved in the acts of corruption and corrupt practices by aiding and abetting co-accused Hamza and Suleman among others in laundering the funds which were disproportionate to their known sources of Income,” NAB claimed in its appeal to the court.

In addition to allegedly laundering money for Sharif they were also purportedly responsible for “fictitious entries of foreign remittances ostensibly sent by various individuals to their co-accused,” NAB apprised the accountability judge.

According to the watchdog, Qasim Quyyum was running an “illegal foreign exchange business at Lahore’s Sadiq Plaza at Mall Road and Ali Tower, MM Alam Road, from 2005 to 2018.”

It claims further: “Qayyum used to collect cash from the office of Suleman in Model Town along with his employees and arrange fictitious foreign remittances (Telegraphic Transfers) in the bank account of co-accused persons, including Shehbaz and his sons. He, with the connivance of others, used CNICs of his employees in order to show them as fake remitters”.

Meanwhile, co-accused Fazal Dad Abbasi, an old employee of Sharif Group, has been working with Suleman Shehbaz since 2005.

The NAB stated that as per the financial monitoring report, the said transactions were worth billions. “He [also] used to collect cash from different sources and hand over to accused Qasim Quyyum.” The accused professed innocent as the court sent them on 15-day physical remand. The accused will be produced before the court on April 19.

This new case has added Sharif scion’s miseries, who has already in NAB’s radar for involvement in Ramzan Sugar Mills and Saaf Pani Company cases.

He, along with his brother Salman, is accused of embezzling Rs200 million from public funds in order to build a bridge benefiting Ramzan Sugar Mills — of which he is a director — in Chiniot. The money, according to NAB, was released by then chief minister of Punjab Shehbaz Sharif, who is also a suspect in the case.