Money laundering case: Two key accused ready to become approver against Sharifs
ISLAMABAD: Hours after PML-N senior leader Maryam Nawaz’s arrest on Thursday, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) claimed that two of the accused expressed their willingness to turn approvers in money-laundering cases filed against the Sharifs and others.
Two key accused, Shahid Rafique and Aftab Mehmood, have requested the NAB under Section 26 of the NAO 1999 for tendering apology and pledging to become approvers against the members of Sharif family and other co-accused in money-laundering cases, senior NAB officials familiar with the development revealed.
The development came at a time when NAB team arrested Maryam Nawaz Sharif in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case and a money laundering inquiry even though she in her letter on Thursday informed NAB CIT, "Please appreciate that on the said date, I [Maryam] had requested for reasonable time to submit comprehensive and accurate reply as the same is to be prepared in consultation with the record which is not readily available as I request to grant me time to trace the requisite record and assure to extend full cooperation to facilitate the inquiry without prejudice to all my legal rights."
Both the accused, who wanted to become approver against the Sharifs, are currently in NAB custody and would be produced before NAB Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal and to get their statements recorded before the magistrate in the next two days, added the officials.
"Investigation NAB CIT conducted so far reveals that the accused [Shahid Rafique] aided, abetted and facilitated by way of providing a channel for laundering the money by arranging false and fictitious entries of foreign remittances ostensibly sent by various individuals to accused Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, Suleman Shahbaz Sharif and others -- the accused persons [Sharifs’ family] accumulated assets which are disproportionate to their known sources of income to the tune of Rs3.3 billion," revealed NAB CIT findings exclusively available with The News. But Sharif family vehemently denied the charges terming them "political victimisation being hammered up against Sharifs by the federal government."
Shahid Rafique during the investigation revealed that he was franchise holder of M/s Zardco Money Exchange Pvt Ltd and M/s AA Exchange but has yet to provide record of all the transactions, one of NAB investigators engaged directly in investigation process said. "We are in process of obtaining record of all the transactions and actual number of franchises held by the accused Shahid Rafique," he added.
Aftab Mehmood is another accused, now in NAB custody, also showed his willingness to become approver against the Sharifs in this money-laundering case, NAB officials said. He had been in cooperation with another accused Fazal Dad Abbasi, Deputy Treasury Manager of Sharif Group who has been conducting financial transactions in the personal bank accounts of different companies, added the officials.
In different suspicious transactions another accused Masroor Anwar along with aforesaid accused was identified as conducting huge banking transactions in the bank account of accused Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, officials further revealed.
"Different accounts of Maqsood Ahmad were identified in which transactions of Rs3.4 billion were conducted by these individuals: Masoor Anwar, Muhammad Younis, Muhammad Nawaz, Shareed Jutt, Muzammil Raza, Syed Muhammad, Muhammad Usman, Muhamad Haneef, Muhammad Shafiq, Muhammad Akbar, Khawaja Hafeez, Abdul Ghaffar, Basharat Ali and Malik Maqsood Ahmed," revealed the NAB CIT findings. "Based on above narrated facts huge volume of financial transactions, complex record, remand [for further co-accused persons] is required," added the findings.
NAB asked Maryam Nawaz Sharif to 'give details of her business relations with four foreign nationals who allegedly sent millions of rupees as remittances in Sharif family’s accounts from different countries.'
They are citizens of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom, who according to the top anti-corruption watchdog have been in business relationship with Sharif family in the past decade.
“The inquiry conducted so far has revealed that you [Maryam Nawaz Sharif] are a shareholder in M/s Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM), NTN 0224049-1 since 1995--in this context you are required to provide details of financial relations with foreign nationals [named] Saeed Saif bin Jabar Al-Suweidi (UAE national), Sheikh Zakaud Din (UK national), Hani Ahmad Jamjoom (Saudi national) and Naseer Abdullah Lootah (UAE national,” reads the NAB’s call up letter given to PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif.
Interestingly, Naseer Abdullah Lootah is already focus of NAB investigation in a multi-billion fake accounts scam involving senior leadership of Pakistan People’s Party. Lootah was accused of facilitating Majeed family and former president Asif Ali Zardari to launder billions of rupees through the Summit Bank where he had major shares.