Hamza’s interim bail extended till May 28

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The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday extended Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz’s interim bail in three corruption cases against him filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The bail was extended by a two-member bench, comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem, in cases pertaining to owning assets beyond his known sources of income, and alleged corruption in Ramzan Sugar Mills and the Punjab Saaf Pani Company.

The NAB prosecutor informed the bench that it has provided the accused with the grounds of arrest as well as documents showing approval of the inquiries.

In reply, the defence counsel said that NAB had not provided a report by the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) and urged the court to order the bureau to hand the documents over to the petitioner. However, NAB excused itself from the giving the report, saying it was a “classified document”.

NAB said that Salman Shehbaz’s frontmen were involved in money laundering through bank accounts belonging to his employees, who were either labourers or low-paid workers. Hamza also benefitted from money laundering, said NAB.

However, the defence counsel insisted on FMU report, terming it the “foundation of the case”

He contended that NAB did not have authority to investigate money laundering cases.

The NAB prosecutor responded that the bureau was investigating cases of similar nature, without specifying which ones.

The court adjourned the hearing until May 28 and extended Hamza’s bail until that date.