Advisor to PM says ARU never asked NCA to probe
Advisor to the Prime Minister on Accountibility Shahzad Akbar has rejected the reports in the local media suggesting PML-N leader Shehbaz Sharif or one of his sons Soleiman Shehbaz had been acquitted in the UK in an assets probe after Britian’s National Crime Agency (NCA) decided to restore Shahbaz Sharif family’s bank accounts.
His statement, however, has confirmed that the NCA has ended probe against Sharifs and decided to release frozen funds.
PMLN, on the other hand, has projected the NCA decision as its victory and a proof of vindication.
The issue has created ripples in Pakistani politics and put Shahzad Akbar on the defensive.
Shahzad Akbar said Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) had not acquitted anyone in any case because “there was no trial. Funds were frozen by NCA (which) decided to not investigate these funds”, he insisted.
NCA, he said, had not initiated this probe on the request of either Assets Recovery Unit or the NAB.
however recently NCA decided to stop investigating these funds and therefore agreed for release of these funds through court.— Mirza Shahzad Akbar (@ShazadAkbar) September 27, 2021
It is clarified that such a release order is not an acknowledgement that funds are from a legitimate source.3/4
The inquiry was the result of a suspicious transaction reported by a bank to NCA. “Certain funds transferred by Soleiman Sharif from Pakistan to UK in 2019 were declared as being suspicious by UK authorities and NCA had secured an asset freezing order from (a UK) court.”
He claimed that the release of funds was not an acknowledgment that the funds (in question) “are from a legitimate source”.
The chief of the Asset Recovery Unit (ARU) said Soleiman Shehbaz “still remains a fugitive in money laundering case against him and his father Shahbaz Sharif” before an accountability court in Lahore.
PMLN has presented the decision by British authorities as a proof of its vindication.
Shehbaz Sharif said, “Today’s decision by UK court is not just my or Nawaz Sharif’s vindication but that of Pakistan too. Certainly truth has greater power than all the lies, fabricated stories & character assassination!”
I bow my head before Allah in all humility & with feelings of profound gratitude. Today’s decision by UK court is not just my or Nawaz Sharif’s vindication but that of Pakistan too. Certainly truth has greater power than all the lies, fabricated stories & character assassination!— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) September 27, 2021
PMLN’s Hina Pervez Butt claimed the NCA had investigated financial transactions spanning over 20 years and a British court had acquitted Shehbaz Sharif and his family from the money laundering allegations.
Maryam Aurangzeb took to Twitter to counter the statements from Shahzad Akbar.
NAB proclaimed in June 2020 that massive corruption had been perpetrated by Hamza, Soleiman and Shahbaz Sharif and it would pursue and prove in British court that the accusations were true.
Reports on Monday claimed that NCA had launched probed after ARU sent a letter to the UK government on December 11, 2019, levelling serious allegation against Sharifs.
It was also claimed that the Westminster court has given a verdict against NCA decision to freeze the funds and after the court verdict the NCA restored the bank accounts of Shehbaz Sharif family.