Special Assistant to the P.M. on Accountability reiterates allegations linking Shahbaz Sharif to money laundering
Urging the public to scrutinize the charges framed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against PMLN President Shahbaz Sharif, Special Assistant to the P.M. on Accountability Shahzad Akbar on Wednesday claimed there was “very strong evidence” of Sharif’s alleged corruption.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, Abkar reiterated his allegations of the Sharif family “looting” taxpayers’ money to build their wealth. “In the document, we have compiled every detail of the way Shahbaz Sharif and his family created a chain of associates to facilitate their money-laundering activities,” he said, once again referring to the anti-graft watchdog as a partner of the government despite maintaining it is an independent entity.
“We have very strong evidence against them,” he claimed. “But whenever they are questioned about their wrongdoing, they only come up with deflective responses instead of giving specific answers,” he added. Citing Section 3 of the Money Laundering Act 2010, Akbar claimed the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly had wanted to excise this clause because it would have allowed him to escape prosecution for his “illegal transactions.”
Alleging that 16 people were accused having aided the Sharif family’s money-laundering, he claimed four of these were proclaimed offenders. He also reiterated his allegations that Sharif’s “seed investments” had all come through laundered money, adding that the PMLN leader’s bulletproof car, mills and factories had all been paid for through money received through telegraphic transfers—an electronic method of transferring funds from overseas.
“The documents show that more than 70 people sent TTs to Shahbaz Sharif through his front companies. Upon investigation, all people who sent the money turned out to be of mediocre financial status, while many of them were not even living in the countries where the transfers were made,” he alleged.
The special assistant said the family was accused of “acquiring and accumulating assets worth Rs. 6,122 million, the present value of which stands at Rs. 7.3 billion, beyond known sources of income.”
To a question, Akbar said he had not given any timeframe on the expected return of the former prime minister—a false assertion, as last month he told Geo News that he hoped to have Sharif back before the end of December. “No date can be given regarding bringing Nawaz Sharif back from the United Kingdom,” he said on Wednesday, claiming the Jan. 15 timeline was given by Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry.
Akbar said the government had raised the issue of Sharif’s deportation with the British government, adding that it would do it once again once the “one-time exemption” Sharif had secured for his visit visa due to the COVID-19 pandemic expired this month.
Sharif has been in London since November 2019, when he was allowed to leave Pakistan to seek medical treatment abroad. The PMLN maintains that he would only return after his treatment is complete and his doctors have allowed him to travel.