NAB arrests Shehbaz Sharif in Ashiana Company case

October 5, 2018

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has arrested Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and National Assembly Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif in connection with the Ashiana Company case, a press release said on Friday.

The NAB in its press release states that the former Punjab chief minister will be presented in an accountability court today (Saturday).

The accountability watchdog had alleged that Shehbaz had misused his authority during his tenure as Punjab chief minister and was involved in corruption.

Sources said that NAB had summoned Shehbaz to appear before it at 11am on Friday and was detained when he appeared at the bureau’s office later during the day to record his statement.

Earlier, NAB sources had said that the PML-N president had not been arrested as yet and that a decision in this regard will be taken after the accountability bureau seeks permission to do so from the National Assembly speaker.

NAB is also investigating the PML-N president in the Saaf Pani case, Paragon Housing Society scandal and Punjab Power Company corruption cases.

Last month, Shehbaz was also summoned by NAB in the Ashiana Housing case while former Lahore Development Authority chairman Ahad Cheema is on judicial remand after having been arrested over the case.

In July, the accountability bureau arrested senior bureaucrat Fawad Hassan Fawad in various corruption cases, including the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case.

Sources revealed that Shehbaz had been summoned in the case in August after revelations made by Fawad during interrogation.

According to NAB officials, Fawad wrongfully awarded the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme’s contract to ‘favourites’, illegally ordered the shifting of nine CNG stations and also worked in a private bank from 2005 to 2006 without official permission.

Moreover, while being the provincial health secretary, Fawad acquired six mobile health units which were purchased at a higher-than-market rate, a NAB spokesperson said.

Fawad has served as former PM Nawaz Sharif’s principal secretary and is considered close to the former premier. He was removed from the post of principal secretary on June 1 this year and was appointed director general of Civil Services Academy, Lahore.

The accused bureaucrat was also being probed by NAB for possession of assets beyond known sources of income.

According to NAB, the contract for the housing scheme was won by a construction company titled Chaudhry Latif and Sons.

However, NAB says then Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his aides awarded the Rs14 billion contract to Lahore Casa Developers a proxy group of Paragon City (Pvt) Limited, which is said to be owned by former Railways Minister Saad Rafique.

Fawad, who was implementation secretary to the chief minister Punjab at the time, levelled charges of wrongdoings against Chaudhry Latif and Sons in order for the contract to be awarded to Casa Developers. INP