The ruling is just an order revoking asset freeze order
Ridiculing media reports suggesting acquittal of Shahbaz Sharif, advisor on accountability Shahzad Akbar said on Tuesday that no money laundering case had been filed against Shahbaz Sharif.
“The inquiry was against Soleiman and the order relate to him as well,” Shahzad Akbar said.
Addressing a virtual conference, Akbar said that nowhere in the British court verdict was “there any mention of Shahbaz Sharif.”
“What crime was he acquitted of? There was no money laundering case against him (Shahbaz) in London. Late last night, I contacted National Crime Agency (NCA) and I got hold of the ruling by the magistrate’s court. The two-page ruling was issued on September 10. This ruling cannot be termed a verdict … It is just an order revoking the asset freeze order,” Shahzad Akbar said.
Shahzad Akbar said that the Westminster Magistrates’ Court had imposed a year-long freeze on assets in two bank accounts: one operated by Soleiman Shahbaz and the other by his lawyer Zulfiqar Ahmed. He said that the National Crime Agency had obtained an order to freeze assets of both men on account of suspicious transactions.
The ruling, Shahzad Akbar insisted, just ended the freeze on assets.
“There was no case of money laundering against Shahbaz Sharif. The entire order does not mention Shahbaz Sharif. This is just misreporting. Reports in a section of the media suggested that Shahbaz Sharif had been acquitted which is not true. There is no order to freeze Shahbaz Sharif assets,” he said.
Dispelling the impression that the case had been filed against Shahbaz Sharif at the request of either the Asset Recovery Unit or the NAB, he claimed that the report just distorts facts.
“When NCA received information about suspicious transaction, it contacted Pakistani institutions and provided names of three or four persons and asked for providing details if there was any case against them or if there was any ongoing investigation against any of them,” he said.
According to him, the letter sent to Soleiman Shahbaz lawyer explicitly mentioned that the order revoking the asset freeze order did not mean that the legitimacy of the funds was proven. It just meant that the NCA was no longer pursuing the case.
The case, Shahzad Akbar said, was against Soleiman Shahbaz and had nothing to do with Shahbaz Sharif.
“Since yesterday, the narrative claims that Shahbaz Sharif had been vindicated. Whenever Shahbaz Sharif was asked that a number of fictitious telegraphic transfers had been made in the accounts of his sons and wife, he (Shahbaz) responds by saying that he had nothing to do with them. They should be asked about these fund transfers,” Shahzad Akbar said.
“Shahbaz Sharif needs to get this order translated by a good lawyer because the cheap spokesperson he employs who transform paternal uncle to maternal one.”
He reminded Shahbaz Sharif that his case was being heard in Lahore. “Don’t forget that the next hearing will be held next week,” he said.
He pointed out that Shahbaz Sharif always insisted in interviews that his sons were personally answerable on business matters, but his party was running the narrative insisting that Shahbaz Sharif had been acquitted in money laundering case.
“I am at my wit’s end … who gives them such suggestions. There are two money laundering cases against Shahbaz Sharif in Pakistan. There was no case against him in any London court. How was he acquitted in this matter then? How did Shahbaz Sharif vindicate when bank accounts of Soleiman Shahbaz were restored?” asked Shahzad Akbar.
Maryam Aurangzeb says DG NAB met MCA officials in London
According to a statement by PML-N spokesperson Maryam Aurangzeb, the DG NAB Lahore met with NCA officials in London on December 10, 2019. Subsequently, Barrister Zia Naseem of the Asset Recovery Unit (ARU) headed by Shahzad Akbar filed a request on December 11, 2019 after which inquiry into the assets of Shahbaz Sharif and his family had started.
She also said that an email had been sent by officials of the ARU to NCA to help in the matter in question. “These irrefutable facts further prove the validity of evidence presented in the British court,” she said.