The country’s top graft buster has expanded its investigation into the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case to include former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s younger daughter Asma Nawaz in view of an unaccounted for increase in her assets.
According to sources, Asma Nawaz came on the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) radar after it was noticed that she received profit from the business enterprise even during the times when the Chaudhry Sugar Mills was facing losses.
They said Asma received Rs1.128 million as profit from the mills in 2001. Interestingly, in that year the mills had faced a loss of Rs131.1million. They said the tax returns filed by Asma are also dubious.
They said her assets continued to grow despite her having no sources of income. Asma Nawaz had total assets worth Rs1.47 million in 1992. Her assets, however, grew to 31.5million in 1993.
According to NAB, former premier Nawaz Sharif had directly received millions of rupees from the Chaudhry Sugar Mills between June 26, 2010 and June 3, 2013. He received Rs5.667 million five times, Rs0.56 million nine times, Rs0.8 million 22 times and Rs0.82 million 20 times.
The anti-corruption body also claimed that the Sharif family patriarch owned over 10 million of the mills’ shares. He owned 1.2 million shares in 2008 and over 12 million shares in 2016.
Nawaz’s daughter Maryam and nephew Yousaf Abbas were also arrested and interrogated by NAB in connection with the case. Nawaz was also taken into custody in connection with the case in October 2019 from Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat prison but the Lahore High Court later granted him bail in the case.
According to NAB, Nawaz had held the majority shares of the mills at different times.
The former premier, in connivance with co-accused Maryam Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz, Yousaf Abbas Sharif and Abdul Aziz Abbas Sharif, established and invested Rs2 billion in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills and Shamim Sugar Mills between 1992 and 2016.
Maryam, Hussain, Hassan, Kulsoom Nawaz and Asma Nawaz owned shares worth Rs43 million when the mill was established in 1992. However, according to NAB, Nawaz did not have the source of income for acquiring the shares.
While Nawaz was the prime minister, an amount of $15,520,000 was shown as a loan to the mills by Ws Chadron (Jersey) Limited, St Helier, Jersey, Channel Island – an offshore company – in the year 1992. The names of the real owners of the company have not been disclosed.
NAB accused Nawaz of acquiring 11.527 million shares of the mills worth Rs400 million in the year 2008 with the assistance of Maryam whereas the total declared income of both of them was Rs47 million.
NAB claimed that Nawaz Sharif, in connivance with Yousaf Abbas Sharif, Maryam and others, laundered an amount of Rs410 million by showing fictitious transfer of 11 million shares of the mill in the name of a foreigner – Nasser Abdullah Hussain Lootah.
The shares were ultimately transferred back to Nawaz in 2014 while he was the premier. Then in connivance with Maryam, Yousaf and others, he acquired the Shamim Sugar Mills for Rs1.2 billion without having any known sources of funds for the purchase.