No money ‘directly deposited’ in Shehbaz’s bank accounts, Hamza, FIA tells Lahore court – Pakistan

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) informed a special court in Lahore on Tuesday that no money had been “directly deposited” into the bank accounts of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz, because the agency Cited Review of Money Laundering Records Rs16 Case.

The disclosure was made by FIA lawyer Farooq Bajwa as the court resumed hearing pleas to acquittal filed by the duo. At the previous hearing (Saturday), the court had ordered the prosecution and the defense to provide arguments.

The FIA ​​had booked Prime Minister Shehbaz and his sons, Hamza and Suleman, in November 2020 under sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and r/w 3/4 of the law against money laundering. Suleman Shehbaz is on the run in the UK.

The Prime Minister and his son have already been released on bail ahead of their arrest in the case registered against them.

The FIA ​​had booked Prime Minister Shehbaz and his sons, Hamza and Suleman, in November 2020 under sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and r/w 3/4 of the law against money laundering. Suleman Shehbaz is on the run in the UK.

At the start of today’s hearing, PM’s lawyer informed the court that his client could not appear due to official commitments and requested a one-day exemption. Hamza appeared in court.

Continuing the hearing, Special Court Judge Ejaz Awan asked about the number of bank accounts held by the late Malik Maqsood – also known as Maqsood chaprasias the PTI popularly called it.

Maqsood, who was a central figure in the case, died in the United Arab Emirates on June 9.

The FIA ​​lawyer replied that the suspect had eight bank accounts in his name, adding that all these details were mentioned in the chalan.

“According to records, no money was directly deposited or withdrawn from the suspects’ (Shehbaz and Hamza) accounts,” he told the court.

Hamza’s lawyer, Amjad Pervez, said there were no bribery allegations either.

Pervez lamented that the bankers were excluded from the investigation by the FIA. He said none of the witnesses named Hamza or his father during the investigation.

The judge asked what evidence was there to support that the entire money transaction was done at Hamza’s request.

“We have no such evidence,” replied the FIA ​​lawyer.

He added, however, that the account holders had accepted ownership of their accounts, as Hamza’s lawyer argued that the account holders had “no idea” about the depositor.

“The account of the late employee Gulzar was also managed by the administration of Ramzan Sugar Mills,” the FIA ​​lawyer said.

The judge asked if he could make the same statement in writing. To this, Bajwa said he was not allowed to submit a written statement.

Hamza’s lawyer insisted the case could not drag on for more than a day, saying “it is based on a political narrative”.

After the hearing, the judge asked both parties to conclude their arguments by tomorrow before adjourning the hearing.

The case

The FIA ​​had in December 2021 submitted the challan against Shehbaz and Hamza to a special tribunal for their alleged involvement in the laundering of an amount of Rs16bn in the sugar scam case.

“The investigation team detected 28 Benami accounts of the Shehbaz family through which money laundering of Rs 16.3 billion was committed in 2008-2018. The FIA ​​examined the financial trail of 17,000 credit transactions,” according to an FIA report submitted to the court.

The amount was kept in “hidden accounts” and given to Shehbaz personally, the report added.

This amount (16 billion rupees) has nothing to do with the sugar trade (of the Shehbaz family), he claimed. Money received from the accounts of low-wage employees by Shehbaz was transferred out of Pakistan through hundi/hawala networks, ultimately intended for the beneficial use of his family members, according to the FIA.

“Eleven poorly paid Sharif Group employees who ‘held and possessed’ the proceeds laundered on behalf of the main defendant, are found guilty of facilitating money laundering. The other three co-accused from the Sharif group also actively facilitated money laundering,” the agency said.