National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore Director General (DG) Shahzad Saleem on Thursday said the accountability watchdog has almost concluded its process of interrogating the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif in connection with Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme scam.
Talking to a private TV channel, he said that it was necessary to arrest the opposition leader in the National Assembly (NA) because it helped NAB in clearing many things up. Shehbaz was arrested on October 6 when he appeared before NAB investigators in connection with Punjab Saaf Pani Company case.
Saleem said that it was claimed by PML-N that Shehbaz was summoned in connection with one case but was arrested in another.
“It is a political statement. Both ‘Saaf Pani’ and ‘Ashiana’ are part of the case related to alleged corruption in 56 companies. This case was forwarded to NAB by the Supreme Court (SC) and the cases related to all the 56 companies actually form one single case,” he added.
He said that the investigation of Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case has been completed and it will be in the court by the end of this month.
“Every day a fire erupts at public buildings, this is how the record is destroyed,” Saleem alleged.
Speaking of a case against Shehbaz’s son-in-law Ali Imran, he accused Imran of depositing official cheques in his personal account. The case against Imran pertains to withdrawn official funds and where were they spent, he said.
Saleem lamented that whoever is summoned by the NAB flees the country.
“Ali Imran has left the country some two to three months ago,” he said, adding that Imran will be answering to the anti-graft body’s questions upon his return to the country.
Saleem further stated that suspects say one thing while being under custody, but change their statements once they get out of custody.
He said that NAB also launched an inquiry against Shehbaz for allegedly having more assets than his known sources of income after his arrest.
When NAB started grilling the PML-N leader and inquired about details of his assets, he said that his financial matters were looked after by his son Salman Shehbaz.
“When we summoned Salman, he provided sketchy information to NAB and left the country. We also summoned Hamza Shebaz but he secured a pre-arrest bail and skipped NAB appearance,” he said.
“NAB has now summoned him on Friday in connection with the inquiry,” he added.
Meanwhile, NAB filed an interim reference against eight former officers including the CEO of the National Testing Service (NTS) that takes tests for recruitment in public and private organisations. These officials are accused of inflicting loss of Rs165m to the national exchequer by hiring phoney consultants.
The reference, filed by NAB Rawalpindi in the accountability Court No 1 of Islamabad, consists of two volumes. It pleads that the eight officers hired fake consultants and paid them Rs165m. the reference includes written evidence as well as a list of 29 pieces of evidence.
According to a press release issued by the NAB spokesperson, the regional heads of the NTS were also involved in the alleged corruption. The purpose of the accused was to withdraw heavy sums from the NTS for their personal use.
The accused include the NTS former additional director Tahir Maqbool Khakwani, former company secretary Waqar Sami, former additional director operations Faizul Akbar, regional heads Kamil Ahmed and Muhammad Javed, the NTS deputy director Yaqoob Jan and former regional head Imran Khan.