Probe into sugar mills scandal Hamza denies link with money laundering

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Amraiz Khan

Leader of the opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz on Thursday appeared before the Federal Investigation Agency in Lahore and answered their questions in sugar mills scandal, expressing his ignorance regarding the transaction of money in his personal and sugar mills accounts.

The investigation agency has summoned him in its ongoing probe of sugar mills scandal involving money laundering amounting to Rs25 billion.

A large number of policemen were deployed around the FIA building besides barriers were put up to stop the PML-N workers from coming towards the office.

A large number of PML-N supporters, however, managed to reach the area to show their support for their leader.

During the FIA grilling about the transaction of Rs25 billion, MPA Hamza expressed his ignorance as who deposited billions of rupees in sugar mills accounts. He said he remained member of National Assembly from 2008 till 2018.

Hamza also uttered his ignorance regarding FATF and money laundering law of 2010. He also articulated his unawareness of Anti-Corruption Act, 1947.

He told the FIA investigators since he was extremely busy with politics, he did not know who kept transferring money in his personal account.

Hamza denied holding any meetings with engineers, consultants or contractors of public projects in Lahore.

He told the FIA that he had no idea why did the Salman Shehbaz and Ramzan Sugar Mills employees leave the country.

He said that he remained chief executive officer (CEO) of Ramzan Sugar Mills but it was not his responsibility to check who deposited Rs25 billion in the accounts of clerks and peons.

Hamza declared that directors of Ramzan Sugar Mills (Salman and Hamza Shehbaz) and his family members did not have any secret assets abroad. He said his legal team would answer the allegations of the FIA team.

Earlier, on Tuesday, Shehbaz Sharif appeared before an FIA team and answered their queries regarding money-laundering and the sugar scandal.

According to the FIA, Shehbaz had failed to satisfy the FIA team who asked him questions regarding money laundering and sugar scandal.

Shehbaz along with Ata Tarar spent about an hour at the FIA office in Lahore. The FIA team led by Dr Rizwan questioned the PML-N chief.

The leader of the opposition in the National Assembly later came out of the FIA office and left for home without talking to the media men waiting outside.

The sources in the FIA said the PML-N chief outrightly denied any involvement in money laundering. As Punjab chief minister he was never involved in any wrongdoing.

To a question, Shehbaz said family’s business accounts were looked after by his son Salman Shehbaz.

Responding to another query, he said he had no knowledge of transfer of Rs25 billion in the accounts of clerk and naib qasids.

Shehbaz said he was only the director of Al-Arabiya and Ramazan Sugar Mills and their accounts were not with him.

Meanwhile, in another case, the Bank Crime Court on Thursday approved the surety bonds of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Sharif.

The court staff took the surety bonds to present them before Judge Abbas Ali who approved the surety bonds after Shehbaz and Hamza signed them.

PML-N leader Aleem Majid Awan submitted surety bonds on behalf of Shehbaz and Hamza.

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