Special court acquits Shahbaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz in money laundering case

The acquittal decision is a big relief for PM Shahbaz and his son Hamza Shahbaz 

In a major relief for Pm Shahbaz Sharif and his Hamza, special court in Lahore today acquitted Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his son former CM Punjab Hamza Shahbaz in the Rs16 billion money laundering case. The Special Court Central judge Ijaz Awan reserved the verdict on the acquittal pleas of PM Shahbaz and Hamza earlier today after completing the hearing of the case.

The court had summoned PM Shahbaz and Hamza at 12 noon today after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) prosecutor informed the court that no money was directly deposited in the accounts of the father-son duo; however, both the leaders did not appear before the court. 

Their lawyer filed a request for exemption from appearance as the prime minister was busy with official engagements and Hamza was unwell. Shahbaz and Hamza both had moved acquittal applications before the court on which their counsel almost completed his arguments on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the special court judge initially asked the prosecutor how many bank accounts were operated in the name of co-suspect Malik Maqsood Ahmad, a peon in Ramzan Sugar Mills, who died while absconding in the United Arab Emirates.

The prosecutor said eight bank accounts of Maqsood Ahmad had been mentioned in the challan. However, he maintained that there was no evidence of any direct deposit or withdrawal in the bank accounts of Shehbaz and Hamza.

The prosecutor said Hamza was a shareholder of the sugar mills, but there was no evidence that the transactions made in the bank accounts of the mills’ employees were made on his instructions.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had booked Shahbaz Sharif and his two sons, Hamza and Suleman, in November 2020 under Sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, read with Section 3/4 of Anti-Money Laundering Act. Suleman had been declared a proclaimed offender by the court for his constant absence in the trial proceedings.

 In December 2021, the FIA submitted the challan against Shahbaz and Hamza before the special court for their alleged involvement in laundering an amount of Rs16 billion in the sugar scam case.

According to the FIA report submitted to the court, the investigation team has "detected 28 benaami accounts of the Shahbaz family through which money laundering of Rs16.3bn was committed during 2008-18. The FIA examined the money trail of 17,000 credit transactions." The report added that the amount was kept in "hidden accounts" and given to Shahbaz personally.

This amount (Rs16 billion) has nothing to do with the sugar business (of the Shahbaz family), it claimed. The money received from the accounts of low-wage employees by Shahbaz was transferred outside Pakistan via hundi/hawala networks, ultimately destined for the beneficial use of his family members, the FIA had alleged.

"Eleven low-paid employees of the Sharif group who 'held and possessed' the laundered proceeds on behalf of the principal accused, are found guilty of facilitating money laundering. The three other co-accused of the Sharif group also actively facilitated the money laundering," the agency had said.


No comments

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Powered by Blogger.