NAB summons Hamza Shehbaz in illegal assets case on April 22


LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has summoned Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz again on April 22.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader was summoned again by the anti-corruption watchdog in a case relating to his assets beyond known income.

He was directed to appear before the investigators at 3pm at NAB’s Lahore office.

Earlier on April 17, the NAB prosecutor had submitted its reply in corruption cases of Ramzan Sugar Mills, Saaf Pani scam and money laundering faced by Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz.

According to corruption watchdog, Hamza chaired Saaf Pani Company meetings without having any authority. It transpired during probe that Hamza Shehbaz influenced contracts issued by the company, NAB said.

It further said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader exceeded his authority in the Ramzan Sugar Mills, and ordered construction of a drain for financial gains. The NAB told the court Rs180 million were transferred to the account of Shehbaz between 2005 and 2008, and subsequently the amount was transferred abroad.

During the investigation, the PML-N leader also failed to give a satisfactory answer to transaction of Rs180m made into his account, the NAB stated.

The prosecutor said Hamza Shehbaz was also a shareholder in Ramzan Energy Limited.

The NAB said assets of children of Shehbaz Sharif was Rs50m in 1999, while Hamza Shehbaz showed Rs22m assets in his declaration in 2001.

Hamza Shehbaz had earlier appeared before the anti-graft watchdog on April 16 and denied to have received kickbacks through some agents from 2005 to 2018 as revealed during the investigation.

Shehbaz said he was accused of Rs85bn money laundering, but, added, it was mere an allegation.

He said the NAB questioned him about Rs 180 million kickbacks, ‘however some of the ministers are accusing of me of indulging in corruption of Rs85bn.’

The PML-N leader said he wasn’t a public office holder between 2005 and 2008; hence there was no point of indulging in corruption in capacity of a government functionary.

“Whatever I did was under the ambit of Pakistan laws and the Constitution,” he claimed.

He expressed resentment that press conferences were held frequently by his opponents in which they hurl accusations.

He condemned that Shehbaz Sharif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Saad Rafique and Bilawal Bhutto were appearing in court for hearings of cases.

He said he wasn’t afraid of appearing before NAB, adding ‘if the crises faced by the country could be resolved by summoning him, I am ready to turn up every time I am called.’

In 2017, the assets owned by Hamza rose to a value of Rs 411 million. The prosecutor said Hamza failed to justify legality of his Rs 388 million out of total assets.

The NAB official said Shehbaz Sharif inherited only Ramzan Sugar Mills, while Shahbaz’s children and mother had 11 factories to their name. He said the sources of Sharif family’s assets of Rs 3.7 billion couldn’t be traced.

The NAB alleged that Hamza Shehbaz indulged in money laundering to hide illegal sources of his income.