Pakistan

Court summons PM Shehbaz, Hamza on Sept 7 for indictment in money laundering case


A special court in Lahore on Saturday ordered Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif and his son, former Punjab chief minister (CM) Hamza Shahbaz, to appear in court on September 7 for framing of charges in the multi-billion rupee money laundering case.

Special Central Court Judge Ijaz Awan heard the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) arguments against the premier and his son. Meanwhile, PM Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz were not present in court today.

During the proceedings today, Hamza’s counsel informed the court that his client had 'severe back pain' while Shehbaz Sharif's lawyer said the prime minister remained absent due to inclement weather conditions and his doctors have advised him against travelling by road due to his health concerns.

Read Court confirms pre-arrest bail of PM Shehbaz, CM Hamza in money laundering case

The FIA ​​prosecutor, Farooq Bajwa, did not object to the premier’s request but objected to his son’s plea for exemption. “The accused stopped appearing as soon as his bail was granted,” he said.

The lawyer also informed the court that the accused Maqsood Chaprasi’s death certificate had been submitted to the court and the “court ended the proceedings of the case to the extent of Malik Maqsood”.

It may be noted that the key witness in the money laundering case against PM Shehbaz and his family, popularly referred to as Maqsood Chaprasi, passed away due to a cardiac arrest earlier in June.

Maqsood had been living abroad and was made a party to the case after money was allegedly found to have been transferred into his account during an investigation into claims of money laundering by the Sharif family.

During the hearing today, the FIA's prosecution team also informed the court that 19 bank account records of Salman Shehbaz have been found, however, the records of seven other banks have not been received yet.

Furthermore, Bajwa said that the records of Salman Shehbaz’s properties that were found have also been submitted in court.

Read More State organs should act within constitutional domain, says PM Shehbaz

Adjourning the hearing of the case till September 7, the court approved the pleas of Shehbaz and Hamza and summoned both the accused to appear in court for the next hearing.

Money Laundering Case

According to the FIA's claims, a sum of Rs16.34 billion was deposited in PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and his sons’ accounts through "benami" sources.

The agency had in December last year nominated Shehbaz and his sons — Hamza and Suleman — as the principal accused in the case. Fourteen others had been named in the FIR under sections 5(2) and 5(3) (criminal misconduct) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, read with 3/4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

“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 FIA had said.

The special court, in a written order confirming the pre-arrest bail of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz on June 14, had also mentioned that so far in the Rs16 billion money laundering case, no evidence of corruption, misuse of authority and bribery could be found against the father and son.


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