China’s envoy rejects corruption allegations in Multan Metro Bus project

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China’s acting ambassador Zhao Lijian on Thursday rejected allegations of corruption levelled against Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, accusing him of reportedly receiving kickbacks in the Multan Metro Bus project through a ‘fake’ Chinese firm.

Responding to a tweet, Zhao said that the Chinese company Yabaite that had been accused of being involved in receiving kickbacks from the project was not operating in Pakistan and had presented “fake letters to cheat government”.

He added that the Chinese government had taken action against the firm.On Tuesday, ARY News’ reporter Hamza Habib Farooq had alleged that a Chinese regulatory authority had released a report stating that the Punjab chief minister had received more than Rs10 million in kickbacks from the Multan Metro Bus project through Yabaite.

Farooq had reported that the Chinese regulator had found discrepancies in Yabaite’s income that had business links to a firm Capital Engineering and Construction Company in Pakistan.

On further investigation, the Chinese board discovered that the company in Pakistan belonged to Shahbaz Sharif.

Shahbaz had vehemently rejected the allegations in a press conference on Wednesday, saying that “if anyone can prove a penny of corruption against me, they can hold me accountable”.

Moreover, Punjab government spokesman Malik Ahmad Khan said on Thursday that the provincial government was ready to join the investigation that the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) was conducting regarding the affairs of Yabaite.

Khan also said that according to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan no team of CSRC ever visited Pakistan for investigation or recording statements of certain individuals in connection with the Multan metro bus project.

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