September 02 , 2017
Chinese envoy rejects corruption claims against Shehbaz
BEIJING: The Chinese government has rejected allegations of corruption levelled against Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, saying reports of him receiving kickbacks from the Multan Metro Bus project through a ‘fake’ Chinese firm are false.
Responding to a tweet, Acting Ambassador Zhao Lijian said that the Chinese company in the middle of the scandal, Jiangsu Yabaite Technology Co Ltd, was not operating in Pakistan and had presented “fake letters to cheat [the] government”. He added that the Chinese government had taken action against the firm.
“Thx for advice. This Chinese company Yabeite was not working in Pakistan. It made up some fake letters to cheat government and was punished,” he tweeted. In another tweet, the diplomat said CPEC projects were transparent and clean and there was zero tolerance for corruption.
The Punjab chief minister welcomed the ‘vindication’ of his stance on the issue in a tweet. “I bow my head before Him, for it isn’t my vindication alone, it is magnificent vindication of all my colleagues and govt of Punjab…thanks!,” he tweeted.
A Chinese regulatory authority had released a report stating that the Punjab chief minister had received more than Rs 10 million in kickbacks from the Multan Metro Bus project through Jiangsu Yabaite Technology Co Ltd, a Chinese company listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
According to the report, Jiangsu is being probed by Chinese authorities after unusual transactions of money were detected in the company’s accounts. Pakistan, however, came into focus only after the Chinese company informed authorities in Beijing that the money involved in its unusual transactions was actually the profits it had earned from the Multan Metro Bus project through its Pakistani partner company, Capital Engineering and Construction Company (Pvt) Ltd.
The channel claimed in its report that on further investigation, the Chinese board ‘discovered’ that the company in Pakistan belonged to Shehbaz Sharif.
According to the report, the China Securities Regulatory Commission approached the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and asked for its assistance pursuant to International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCOs) and Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MMoU) about Jiangsu Yabaite and Capital Engineering and Construction Company.
The CSRC also inquired from the SECP whether these two companies had participated in the construction of Multan Metro Bus Project, as claimed by Yabaite. The SECP approached the State Bank of Pakistan as well as the Federal Board of Revenue to know if there was any bank account of the Capital Engineering Company in the country, or any record of tax returns. The SECP also wrote to Pakistan Engineering Council to inquire if any such engineering company was registered with the council but no such company was found in the council’s record.
Yabaite, in light of the investigations, submitted to the CSRC two appreciation letters: one allegedly from Shehbaz Sharif, another from Senator Kulsoom Parveen, who hails from Balochistan, and one blank paper signed by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, which endorsed Senator Parveen’s letter in May 2017.
The Punjab chief minister, as well as the two senators, have categorically denied writing any such letter. Shahbaz had vehemently rejected the allegations in a press conference on Wednesday.
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