LAHORE: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Barrister Shahzad Akbar said Friday PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif is the “ringleader of a money-laundering gang”.
Shehbaz and his son, Hamza Shehbaz, are involved in corruption and had laundered Rs16 billion in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case, he said while addressing a press conference. The challan submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against the two members of the Sharif family — Shehbaz and Hamza — in the Ramzan Sugar Mills money-laundering case consisted of more than 4,000 documents and 100 witnesses, he said.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) also found Shehbaz involved in money-laundering, and according to the FIA charge-sheet, he was the “mastermind of the money-laundering group”, Akbar said.
He said the modus operandi used in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case was again used in the Ramzan Sugar Mills scam, adding that Shehbaz got relief in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case on “technical grounds, not on merit”.
Akbar said billions of rupees were laundered through the accounts of low-wage employees of the Ramzan Sugar Mills and that Shehbaz opened 28 ”benamidar” accounts to launder money between 2008 and 2018 when he was the chief minister of Punjab.
The PM’s adviser said salary certificates of those employees were part of the bank record under the “know your customer (KYC)” regime. He added that the employees also confessed during an investigation that the bank accounts were opened in their names and the cheque books and other belongings were taken from them.
He claimed account opening was a condition after getting a job at the sugar mill. Akbar said the amount of Rs16 billion was deposited in the accounts by karyana merchants, schoolteachers, hardware shops, auto-parts dealers, chicken suppliers, etc.
He added that the FIA came to know from the account holders during the investigation that none of them paid anything to the Sharif group. The same method to launder money was also used in Sindh. The salaries of the employees varied between Rs 5,000 and 30,000, however, the transactions in the accounts were worth billions of rupees.