Britain-based Newspaper Daily Mail has issued a news report, alleging Sharif family members of being involved in money laundering and corruption under the governance of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Citing an interview of Sharif family’s front man Aftab Mehmood, DailyMail accused PML-N leader Shehbaz Sharif of committing money laundering in Britain during the time when latter was Chief Minister of Punjab.
The report states that the British government at the time had handed over £500million to Punjab Government for victims of the Earthquake. As per Investigation Agencies, Sharif family used this amount for money laundering. It added that Aftab Mehmood had already confessed of the allegations, confirming that he laundered millions of dollars through Birmingham office for members of the Sharif family.
Moreover, Daily Mail claimed that Shebaz’s son in law was given £1 million of the amount that British government had sent to Pakistan Government at the time (PML-N’s regime) for alleviating poverty and providing better health facilities among women.
According to probe carried out by recovery unit, sudden hikes were witnessed in the wealth of Sharif family. A secret report revealed that Sharifs owned £0.15 million back in 2003, however, an enormous and rapid increase was witnessed in the family’s total wealth till 2018.
“After winning election on a pledge to combat corruption, Imran Khan set up a special team to deal with it, the Asset Recovery Unit, headed by a UK-educated barrister. They have examined a series of suspicious transactions running to many millions and shown that Shehbaz’s family’s assets grew enormously during the years he was in power,” the report stated.
The report further revealed, the Sharif family was worth just £150,000 in 2003, but by 2018 their total assets had grown to about £200 million. “Among other properties, Shehbaz owns a 53,000 sq ft palace in Lahore, which has its own large security force,” said the report.
Britain’s Department for International Development (DIFD) said it was ‘well aware about Pakistan being ‘corrupt environment’. However, since 2014, DFID gave more aid to Pakistan than any other country – up to £463 million a year. According to the report, the family’s legitimate income sources could not account for their riches.
“Investigators have launched inquiries into alleged thefts from DFID-funded schemes to give poor women cash to lift them out of poverty and to provide healthcare for rural families,” the report said. Stolen millions were laundered in Birmingham and then allegedly transferred to Shehbaz’s family accounts by UK branches of banks including Barclays and HSBC, it added.
Ikram Naveed, the former finance director of ERRA, pleaded guilty and confessed last November to embezzling about £1.5 million from ERRA during the period DFID was funding it, of which he passed on almost £1 million to Ali Imran, Shahbaz’s son-in-law who is married to his daughter Rabia.
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27 September, 2019