News Desk |
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has informed an accountability court that the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hamza Shahbaz was not cooperating in the investigation.
As the hearing resumed, the NAB prosecutor told the court that the accused has not been cooperating in the investigation. “He hasn’t been disclosing the source(s) from where he bought the house No. 96-H in Model Town and why he did not declare the property in the tax returns,” the prosecutor said.
Contrarily, Hamza’s defense counsel argued before the court that the property was owned by his client’s mother, and she had been filing her tax returns. He further maintained that the case was related to assets beyond means and not corruption.
NAB had sent a questionnaire to Hamza in accumulation of assets beyond known sources of income and alleged money laundering cases.
“The NAB claims that according to the evidence it has obtained the assets worth Rs3.3 billion are illegal, then why the bureau has been seeking Hamza’s physical remand?” he asked.
Following the hearing, the accountability court in Lahore extended Hamza’s physical custody remand till July 24 in the money laundering and assets beyond means cases. NAB had produced Hamza before the court after the expiry of the previous remand period.
Meanwhile, police ensured strict security arrangements outside the judicial complex and blocked adjoining roads for routine traffic. The litigants were denied entry to the complex. On June 26, the court extended Hamza’s physical remand for 14 days upon NAB’s request.
On June 11, the accountability watchdog had arrested Hamza in the cases and shifted him to bureau’s headquarter at Thokar Niaz Baig in Lahore after the Lahore High Court had turned down his applications for extension in his interim bail.
“Prove Corruption, I will Quit Politics”: Hamza Shahbaz
Before being arrested, Hamza while speaking to the media had said that not even a “one rupee” corruption could be proven against him. “I will quit politics if it is proven that I was involved in corrupt practices,” he said.
Hamza, the son of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif, was arrested a day after the former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari was arrested by NAB in Islamabad.
NAB Seeks Answers from Hamza Shahbaz
On April 27, NAB had sent a questionnaire to Hamza in accumulation of assets beyond known sources of income and alleged money laundering cases. The bureau had directed the provincial lawmaker to provide details in respect of investment made from 2005 until now.
The questionnaire alleged that the Sharif family’s assets stood at Rs53,600,000 in 1999 and the assets rose to Rs683,300,000 within 10 years.
In the questionnaire, NAB had stated that Hamza earlier provided an incomplete record to the investigation team and his replies were not satisfactory. NAB had asked Hamza to provide details of the loans against the companies and partnership with Suleman Shahbaz and Nusrat Shahbaz.
Hamza was directed to file tax returns and wealth statement from 2006 to 2008. Apparently, it was reported, Hamza did not file tax returns in the income tax department for the said years. Specifically, NAB said, detailed replies in respect of the increase in his assets in three years should have been submitted.
Read more: NAB seeks more answers from Hamza Shahbaz
The questionnaire alleged that the Sharif family’s assets stood at Rs53,600,000 in 1999 and the assets rose to Rs683,300,000 within 10 years. Resultantly, NAB had directed Hamza to clarify his position how he made Rs3 billion.