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LAHORE: An accountability court on Monday framed charge against Ali Ahmed Khan, co-accused of Shehbaz Sharif, in money laundering reference.

The court asked the NAB to produce witnesses for recording their statements on January 10 next. The NAB prayed the court to dismiss the acquittal applications of Imtiaz Haider and Bilal Qudwai, co-accused of Shehbaz Sharif in Asheyana Housing Scheme reference. The court asked the counsel to submit their arguments on next hearing.

The NAB also submitted its reply in acquittal application of Hamza Shehbaz in Ramzan Sugar Mills reference and prayed the court to dismiss the same for being not maintainable.

Shehbaz Sharif appeared before the court, however, Hamza Shehbaz was not present in the court due to ailment. The counsel of Hamza asked for one-day exemption from appearing before the court and submitted his medical certificate also. The court accordingly allowed one-day exemption of Hamza Shahbaz.

In Ashiyana Housing Scheme reference, the NAB accused Shehbaz Sharif of misusing his powers as chief minister of Punjab. It said Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) following due approval of its Board of Directors (BoD) awarded the contract for infrastructure development of Ashiyana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme to successful bidder namely M/S Ch. A. Latif & Sons in 2013.

It said a company namely CONPRO Services (Pvt) Limited, which filed a so-called complaint, had bribed then Punjab secretary implementation Fawad Hassan Fawad. The complainant company is believed to be owned by Kamran Kiyani, the NAB alleged.

The reference said the former chief minister without a lawful authority ordered the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) to entrust the housing project to the LDA. It said the LDA undertook the project under public-private partnership to give unlawful benefit to a blue eyed firm M/S Bismillah Engineering Services which was proxy firm of M/S Paragon City (Pvt) Limited.

In money laundering reference, the NAB alleged that the family members and benamidars of Shehbaz received fake foreign remittances of billions in their personal bank accounts. In addition to these remittances, the bureau said billions of rupees were laundered by way of foreign pay orders which were deposited in personal bank accounts of his sons Hamza and Suleman.

Shahbaz, his wife Nusrat, and son Hamza, had been indicted in the case. The NAB in Ramzan Sugar Mills reference alleged that Shehbaz, being chief minister Punjab, had issued a directive for the construction of a drain in district Chiniot mainly for the use of Ramzan Sugar Mills owned by his sons. It said Rs 200 million was spent for this purpose from the public money.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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