Lahore: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son, Hamza Shehbaz, could not be indicted on Wednesday in a money laundering case involving Rs16 billion and was delayed yet again after both of them filed fresh petitions seeking acquittal in the case.
On July 30, a special court in Lahore summoned Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz on September 7 (today) for indictment in the money laundering case of Rs 16 billion registered by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against them.
On the last hearing, the counsels of both PM Shehbaz and Hamza cited health conditions because of which they could not appear before the court.
However, as the hearing began today, PM’s counsel Amjad Pervez and Hamza’s lawyer Muhammad Aurangzeb appeared before the court.
Amjad Pervez requested on his client’s behalf a one-day exemption from appearance, citing his busy schedule in Islamabad due to flood-related activities.
Hamza, on the other hand, showed up at the court.
The lawyers contended that there was no chance of conviction in the case and sought their clients’ acquittal from the case.
After hearing arguments, the court issued a notice to the FIA and sought its response.
The hearing was adjourned till Sep 17.
In December 2021, the FIA submitted the challan against Shehbaz and Hamza before the special court for their alleged involvement in laundering an amount of Rs16 billion in the sugar scam case.
According to the FIA report submitted to the court, the investigation team has “detected 28 benami accounts of the Shehbaz family through which money laundering of Rs16.3bn was committed during 2008-18. The FIA examined the money trail of 17,000 credit transactions.”
The report added that the amount was kept in “hidden accounts” and “given to Shehbaz in a personal capacity”.
This amount (Rs16 billion) has nothing to do with the sugar business (of the Shehbaz family), it claimed. The money received from the accounts of low-wage employees by Shehbaz was transferred outside Pakistan via hundi/hawala networks, ultimately destined for the beneficial use of his family members, the FIA had alleged.
“Eleven low-paid employees of the Sharif group who ‘held and possessed’ the laundered proceeds on behalf of the principal accused, are found guilty of facilitating money laundering. The three other co-accused of the Sharif group also actively facilitated the money laundering,” the agency had said.