National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has claimed to have made progress in an alleged money laundering case against the Sharif family after it arrested Muhammad Usman, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Sharif group. NAB sources told GVS that the anti-corruption watchdog is likely to get some solid evidence against Shehbaz family after the latest arrest.
Usman was declared as an absconder after he failed to appear before the NAB after multiple notices. Sources inside NAB claim that they received some information about whereabouts of Usman one day before Eid. Resultantly, NAB officials sought help of other security agencies and arrested the most wanted man in ongoing corruption cases.
According to sources, Usman is the prime suspect in the money laundering cases against Sharif family. “NAB has concrete evidence against the accused,” they said adding that Usman manages the accounts of the Sharif group.
Journalist Imran Khan believes that Usman is for Shehbaz family what Ishaq Dar is for Nawaz family. This man was in-charge of all the accounts held by Shehbaz family, he added.
It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif on May 04 appeared before National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in money laundering cases.
According to details, a joint investigation team of the anti-corruption watchdog interrogated the PML-N leader for two hours.
The PML-N president skipped the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) appearance for the last two times and submitted his response on both occasions through his counsel. However, NAB had termed the response submitted by PML-N president as unsatisfactory.
Other than Shehbaz, his sons Hamza Shehbaz and Suleman Shehbaz are also nominated in the money laundering case. Hamza Shehbaz is already imprisoned in the case while properties of former chief minister were confiscated on the court order.
Shehbaz’s wealth increase: from 1998 to 2018
The accountability bureau has said that between 1998 to 2018, Shehbaz’s family assets grew from Rs.23 million to Rs.549 billion. “As a public office holder Shehbaz needs to explain the increase in his assets,” NAB said.
The accountability watchdog has also asked Shehbaz to submit bank details along with the loan taken from Barclays between 2005 to 2007.
Furthermore, NAB has also sought details of all the gifts received and given by the family, details of agriculture income from 2008 to 2019 and details about the utilization of Shehbaz’s Model Town residence as chief minister’s camp house.
Last year in December, NAB had issued orders to freeze 23 pieces of property belonging to the former Punjab chief minister and his sons Hamza and Suleman Shehbaz over the allegation that they acquired assets beyond their means and committed money laundering.
According to the accountability bureau, an investigation against Shehbaz, Hamza, Suleman and others for the offense of “corruption and corrupt practices” had revealed that Shehbaz had acquired properties in the name of his wives Nusrat Shahbaz Sharif and Tehmina Durrani.
Money Laundering case against PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif
According to a confidential investigation report seen by the Daily Mail, millions of pounds were transferred into the bank accounts of Shehbaz’s family members, including his wife, children and son-in-law. It states to have interviewed key witnesses held on remand in jail, including a UK citizen, Aftab Mehmood, who claims that he had laundered millions on behalf of Shahbaz’s family from a nondescript office in Birmingham – without attracting suspicion from Britain’s financial regulators, who inspected his books regularly.
According to Daily Mail, investigators are convinced that some of the allegedly stolen money came from the Department for International Development (DFID)-funded aid projects. For rehabilitating and rebuilding lives of the poor, the DFID gave £54 million from UK taxpayers; and the legal documents allege that Shehbaz’s son-in-law received about £1 million from that fund.
As per claims by the Daily Mail, Britain’s National Crime Agency has been working closely with Pakistani investigators and Home Secretary Sajid Javid discussing the possible extradition of members of his family, who have taken refuge in London.