IHC takes up Al-Azizia, Flagship cases on June 19

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday fixed the hearing of appeals of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the Al-Azizia and Flagship verdicts on June 19.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, will hear the appeals pertaining to two cases against Nawaz that stemmed out of Panama Papers that had led to his ouster.

The accountability court had sentenced Nawaz to seven years in prison and fined Rs1.5 billion in the Al-Azizia case on December 24. However, he was acquitted in the Flagship corruption reference.

The former prime minister has challenged the accountability court’s verdict in the Al-Azizia case, seeking to set aside the conviction and seven-year imprisonment in the case. Whereas, NAB moved two appeals in the IHC, challenging the verdicts in the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references.

The bureau has pleaded with the court to enhance Nawaz’s sentence to 14 years in the Al-Azizia case while striking down his acquittal in the Flagship case.

In its appeal against Nawaz’s acquittal in the Flagship reference, NAB contended that the court’s verdict is against the law and it should have been announced in light of evidence placed on record. The IHC has been requested to declare the accountability court decision in Flagship reference null and void.

The ex-premier was also convicted in Avenfield case, however his sentence was suspended by the high court after he challenged the conviction by a NAB court.

An accountability court in its verdict in the Avenfield properties corruption reference in July this year, had handed the ousted prime minister 10 years rigorous imprisonment for owning assets beyond known income and his daughter Maryam was given 7 years for abettment after she was found “instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father”. Sharif’s son-in-law Captain (r) Muhammad Safdar was given 1 year jail time.

NAB had filed the reference regarding the high-end properties in London, along with two others, on the Supreme Court’s directives in the landmark Panamagate verdict last year which deseated Nawaz as the prime minister.

PANAMA CASE:

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) makes 11.5 million secret documents available to the public for the very first time. The documents, coming from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, contain confidential attorney-client information for more than 214,488 offshore entities.

Eight off-shore companies were reported to have links with the family of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif.

According to documents available on the ICIJ website, the prime minister’s children Maryam, Hassan and Hussain “were owners or had the right to authorise transactions for several companies”.