NAB reference solely based on JIT’s evidence, IO tells court

  • Says bureau had not received replies from MLAs at time of filing reference

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Investigation Officer Imran Dogar apprised the accountability court on Friday that the reference filed against deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif was solely based on the evidence gathered by Supreme Court-mandated Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

Accountability Judge Bashir Ahmed resumed hearing of the anti-graft reference filed against Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam Nawaz on Friday.

As the hearing went underway, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris resumed his cross-examination of NAB investigation officer (IO) Imran Dogar, the last prosecution witness, in the Avenfield properties reference.

Over the course of the hearing, the IO said that he did not seek any more material from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) or NAB to use in the reference. He also informed the court of NAB’s procedure of lodging cases and holding inquiries.

Furthermore, the bureau had not received any response on the mutual legal assistance requests at the time of filing of interim references against the Sharifs, the IO said.

The hearing was later adjourned until May 7 after counsel Haris completed the cross-examination. At the next hearing, Maryam’s counsel will begin his cross-examination of Dogar.

At the last hearing on Thursday, the IO told the judge that ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif was the beneficial owner of two offshore companies — Neilson and Nescol.

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.