Nawaz owned Avenfield flats while holding public office, IO tells court


–NAB witness Imran Dogar says Sharif family was unable to provide sources of income through which they acquired the properties in 1993

–IO says trust deeds submitted by Maryam Nawaz proved to be fake, shows deposed PM’s children aided their father in his crime 



ISLAMABAD:  The investigating officer in the corruption references filed against the Sharif family on Wednesday told the accountability judge that deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif owned the Avenfield properties while he was a public office holder.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) official Imran Dogar told the court that Nawaz Sharif used offshore companies Nielsen and Nescoll Ltd to buy the properties in London while he was the actual owner of the expensive apartments. He said that the accused were unable to provide their sources of income through which they had bought the properties in 1993.

He said the trust deeds submitted by Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz — which had stirred the Calibri controversy last year — were proven to be fake, alleging that in acting as benamidars for Sharif, his children Maryam, Hassan and Hussain aided their father in his crime.

“Investigations reveal that the accused were found involved in corruption and corrupt practices, which is an arrestable crime under the NAB Ordinance 1999,” Dogar said, adding that the accused had failed to appear before NAB despite being notified twice — on August 18, 2017 and December 28, 2017.

He revealed that NAB had received two letters sent by Advocate Amjad Pervaiz, Khawaja Harris and Nazeer Ahmed Bhutta on August 22 and December 30 last year, adding that The JIT reached its conclusion in the light of the Robert Radley report.

Harris, representing Sharif, objected the inclusion of the letter so late in the proceedings. “Why was such an old letter not disclosed before?”

Most of the findings presented on Wednesday were also mentioned in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report presented to the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case last year and had led to the the apex court ordering the filing of references against Sharif, his children and former finance minister Ishaq Dar.

Dogar also stated that Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) official Sidra Mansoor informed NAB about the Hudaibiya Paper Mills.

A NAB appeal to re-open the Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference was dismissed by a bench of the SC for being brought to malign the Sharif family while the extended deadline to decide on the rest of the references is soon approaching.

During the hearing, intermittent power cuts disturbed the proceedings, with the court continuing the trial by use of emergency lights. Nawaz and daughter Maryam could not appear in court as they were unable to leave Lahore owing to inclement weather.

Similarly, Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervez also failed to appear in court for similar reasons and his associate counsel submitted a power of attorney on behalf of his client.

At the last hearing on April 30, Nawaz’s counsel had requested the court not to allow recording of Dogar’s statement. The judge ruled that he will give an order on the plea later and directed for the recording of Dogar’s statement.

The court then adjourned the hearing till Thursday.

The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14, 2017.

The corruption references, filed against the Sharifs, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.

Nawaz and sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only.

The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.

The court originally had a deadline of six months which ended in mid-March but was extended for two months after the judge requested the apex court.





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