By Danish Hussain
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have separately requested the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to initiate an inquiry into the alleged money laundering by a Chinese company while constructing the Multan Metro Bus project.
In this regard, PTI MNA Murad Saeed and PPP Information Secretary Shaukat Mahmood Basra have written separate letters to the NAB chairman.
Some media reports had earlier accused Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif of allegedly transferring funds worth $10.75 million to China as kickbacks from the Chinese construction firm while executing the said project.
However, the Punjab chief minister categorically denied the allegations of sending kickbacks or any involvement in money laundering.
The issue came to the limelight after the Chinese regulatory authority launched an investigation into the inflow of undue foreign funds transferred by the construction firm to China, showing it as profit gained from the said project.
As part of investigation, the Chinese authorities contacted the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) for assistance in gathering information and documents.
Recently, the SECP forwarded the case of alleged money laundering to the Federal Investigation Agency for investigation. The SECP also clarified that the investigation had nothing to do with the government of Punjab or its chief minister.
“Some media reports, backed by authentic documentation, have shown undeniable link between the Chinese firm and alleged money laundering by Shehbaz while executing the project,” the letters written to the NAB chairman claimed.
The PTI leader and PPP information secretary said that it’s pertinent to kick off formal inquiry into the matter as any delay would impact relations between the two brotherly countries, Pakistan and China.
“The government of China is already holding investigations regarding the illegalities and embezzlement committed in the project in question. Since billions of rupees belonging to the people of Pakistan were spent and embezzled by the government of Punjab, it will be just to initiate inquiry/investigation by the NAB in order to unearth the crime, embezzlement, corruption, corrupt practices and misuse of authority by Mian Shehbaz Sharif,” the PPP’s application read.
“The matter in question involves not only monetary loss sustained by Pakistan, but also integrity and respect of the government of Pakistan and its people,” it added.
The PPP information secretary noted that investigation should be initiated against the Punjab CM, concerned departments of the Punjab government, and the companies and individuals involved in the scam.
The PTI in its application stated that available documents endorsed the fact that the Sharif family was involved in money laundering done under the garb of Multan Metro Bus project.
“Documents suggest that billions of rupees have been laundered to China and the USA while executing the project,” Saeed wrote in his letter, adding that it’s a matter of national security as Pakistan has good relations with the two countries.courtesy The Express Tribune.