Nawaz funnelled money thru airport project: PM’s aide

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By Shakeel Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar on Thursday said former premier Nawaz Sharif, during his time as the chief executive, used the new Islamabad International Airport project to inject money into Chaudhry Sugar Mills. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday, the PM’s aide presented a breakdown of the alleged corruption that had been carried out by the Sharifs with links to the Chaudhry Sugar Mills. Akbar explained that the major contract for the project was given to a company called Technical Associate which, according to the PM’s aide, is owned by individuals with close links to the Sharifs. “They made serious changes to the project’s PC- 1, serious design changes due to which a Rs33 billion project ended up costing close to Rs105 billion. “Because of this, there were delays which ended up benefiting Technical Associate [the company] which then ended up injecting Rs507 million into the Chaudhry Sugar Mills,” he alleged. Displaying a cheque from Technical Associate for Rs50 million, which he claimed was withdrawn by Shujaat Azeem – special assistant to the prime minister on aviation during Nawaz’s government, Akbar said: “If this is not a kickback then it is a conflict of interest.” He once again called upon Nawaz to give an answer to the ten questions he had posed earlier in addition to the points he had raised today. During the press conference, Akbar also referred to a number of other transactions which he said were connected in one way or another to the Chaudhry Sugar Mills. “To understand this whole thing, we need to first understand how the sugar mill was established. Before the 1990s, a loan was required to establish the mill. Instead of going to a bank, these people created a shell corporation called Chadron Jersey Limited,” Shah said. “They then took a loan in Chadron Jersey’s name and the terms of the loan were set in such a manner that the bank — instead of providing Rs15 million directly — will send it to this company, which will procure machinery for the mill and send the same to Pakistan. “In 1990, no money or machine ever showed up in Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif had become the prime minister by this time. They, however, did say that they have locally sourced the machinery they required. “Then a blank cheque was given to pay the loan back to Chadron Jersey Limited, with interest, in the next four years,” Akbar said. Questioning the nature of the company, the PM’s aide said Chadron Jersey Limited and eight other companies – all of which he claimed were shell companies – were registered to the same address, adding that the same could be verified on the World Bank’s website. After sharing details of all the loans allegedly taken for the Chaudhry Sugar Mills in the name of various individuals and corporations, Shah said: “The point of doing these press briefings is to inform the people about how they have been looted. Because the people should also demand an answer from them [the Sharif family].” Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability, Shahzad Akbar, said on Thursday that Chaudhry Sugar Mills is a major corporate fraud of Sharif family for money laundering, newsmen reported. While addressing a press conference in Islamabad today, Shahzad Akbar said the members of Sharif family had laundered money through Chaudhry Sugar Mills. “Money had been transferred from the bank account of new Islamabad airport to Chaudhry Sugar Mills. It is a major corporate fraud.” “A fake company was established by name Chadron and acquired loan of $15 million while the loan and machinery have not arrived in Pakistan. The loan was not returned but it was waived after Nawaz Sharif came into power as the then prime minister. Sharif family has not given related documents to any investigation institution so far.” He further said, “The contract for the construction of new Islamabad airport had been awarded to a relative of Nawaz Sharif. Fake telegraphic transfers (TTs) worth $1.5 million had been generated for Chaudhry Sugar Mills on the names of a Saudi citizen and Siddiqua Syed. The shares were transferred to Nawaz Sharif and later to Maryam Nawaz. Up to 45 per cent of shares were later given to Yousuf Abbas.”