Pakistan

Court allows NAB to interrogate Hamza Shahbaz in jail

Court allows NAB to interrogate Hamza Shahbaz in jail

LAHORE – An accountability court on Tuesday allowed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to interrogate Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior politician and Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz in the money laundering charges against him.

The accountability watchdog has been investigating into money laundering accusations against Hamza, and new evidence has been found in the case after the arrest of Nisar Gul. The investigation team will probe the PML-N leader about benami companies.

On Nov. 28, the court had extended Hamza Shahbaz’s judicial remand for another 14 days. The court had ordered the NAB prosecutor to file reference of the money laundering case.

On April 9, the court had indicted Hamza and his father Shehbaz in the same case.

However, both accused had denied the charges against them, and maintained that they had saved Rs2,300 billion, assuring that the money was not misused.

On June 11, the accountability watchdog had arrested Hamza in the same cases shifted him to the bureau’s headquarter at Thokar Niaz Baig in Lahore as the Lahore High Court (LHC) turned down his applications for extension in his interim bail.

In the hearing on June 11, Salman Butt, the defense counsel for Hamza, had argued that according to the NAB ordinance, the bureau could not issue arrest warrants unless an inquiry over the matter was completed. To which, Justice Naqvi had remarked that the judgment would be done according to the constitution, and justice would be ensured.

Moreover, the prosecutor had submitted complete details of assets of Shahbaz Sharif’s family members in the court with an argument that their assets were beyond their known sources of income.

“Billions of rupees were added to the assets of Shehbaz’s family, whereas Hamza couldn’t provide details of the sources of his income,” he added.

The bench was further told by the NAB that in the year 2018, his assets were found to be worth Rs410 million, whereas he could not prove assets worth Rs380 million, and the money was laundered to Dubai and England, and 40 individuals were involved in the money laundering.