Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was arrested Friday by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case, Dawn reported. Sharif’s daughter Maryam was arrested in connection with this case on August 8, 2019 and is in judicial custody.
Sharif and members of his family are being probed on allegations of money laundering in the sale or purchase of the sugar mill’s shares. The NAB has accused Sharif of his involvement as a direct beneficiary of CSM, and Maryam, who had over 12 million shares in the mill.
The NAB team took Sharif into custody from Kot Lakhpat jail — where he is serving a seven-year sentence in the Al Azizia corruption case — and presented him before an accountability court in Lahore.
During the hearing before Judge Chaudhry Ameer Muhammad Khan, NAB prosecutor Hafiz Asadullah Awan said that in 2016, Sharif was the largest shareholder of CSM, adding that he had remained a shareholder in the company as well as in Shamim Sugar Mills. It sought a 15-day physical remand. The NAB added that Maryam, PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif and other Sharif family members had been shareholders in CSM.
The NAB said that the CSM accounts had received foreign funds, adding that in 1992 one foreign company had provided Nawaz with Rs 55.5 million. Awan said that they still do not know the identity of the owner to this foreign company.
The counsel for Sharif Amjad Pervez argued that the arrest was not as per the law and that the agency would have to conduct its investigation at the jail premises. “Nawaz Sharif is serving his sentence after a trial and his arrest is not as per the law. Nawaz should not be handed over to the agency on physical remand for even an hour,” the counsel said, reported Dawn.
Denying that Sharif had ever been a shareholder or director of CSM, Sharif’s counsel said the former PM had no role in the formation of the mills and called it a “fake case”.
In January 2018, the Pakistan Muslim League (N) government’s financial monitoring unit reported to NAB a huge suspicious transaction involving billions of rupees in the M/s Chaudhry Sugar Mills Ltd under Anti-Money Laundering Act.
(With inputs from Dawn)