LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) extended Hamza Shahbaz’s interim bail on Wednesday in three different corruption cases that are being probed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
A two-judge bench comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem heard the case today. The NAB prosecutor told the court that the bureau had provided Hamza with grounds for arrest as well as documents showing approval of the inquiries by the competent authority.
Hamza’s counsel argued that NAB had not provided a report by the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) and urged the court to order the bureau to hand the documents over to the petitioner. The NAB prosecutor argued that the FMU report was a classified document and could not be given to Hamza.
Hamza is being investigated for owning assets beyond his known sources of income, and alleged corruption in Ramzan Sugar Mills and the Punjab Saaf Pani Company.
The bench directed NAB to inform the court about the background of the cases against Hamza. The anti-corruption watchdog told the bench that Hamza, as well as his brother Salman and father Shahbaz Sharif, owned assets beyond their means.
NAB explained that Salman’s frontmen were involved in money laundering through bank accounts belonging to Salman’s employees.
The NAB prosecutor said that Mohammad Mushtaq alias Chini, who was the manager of Ramzan Sugar Mills and had been offloaded from a PIA flight and arrested last month, had disclosed that Salman used bank accounts opened in the names of his employee, who were either labourers or low-paid workers. The bureau maintained that Hamza benefited from the money laundering.
Meanwhile, Hamza’s counsel insisted on being provided with the FMU report, saying that it was the “foundation of the case”.
He contended that NAB did not have authority to investigate money laundering cases. The NAB prosecutor responded that the bureau was investigating cases of similar nature, without specifying which ones.
Hamza’s counsel said that the MPA could not be arrested without the magistrate’s permission. The court adjourned the hearing until May 28 and extended Hamza’s bail until that date.