ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi, while presenting closing arguments in Avenfield properties case, remarked that the Sharif family failed to prove it source of income.
The Avenfield reference, pertaining to the Sharif family’s London properties, is among three filed against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last year on the Supreme Court’s directives.
The prosecutor accused Maryam Nawaz of hiding facts, adding that the accused individuals had tried to mislead investigating agency.
Abbasi further remarked that Hussain Nawaz shifted in the London flats in 1993 and even paid utility bills, while Hasan Nawaz had shifted in 1994.
“Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was the actual owner of Gulf Steel Mills,” he added.
Nawaz who appeared before the accountability court earlier, left after marking his attendance.
As the hearing went under way, Maryam and Captain (retd) Safdar’s lawyer Zafar Khan filed a one-day exemption plea for his clients. He informed the court that Safdar was in Mansehra to obtain nomination papers for the elections.
Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir, who was presiding over the case, approved the request.
The hearing was delayed till June 7.
On Tuesday, the accountability court had dismissed the miscellaneous petition, submitted by the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, requesting for final arguments in all the three references against the Sharif family to be heard together.
“You may challenge this verdict in the high court,” remarked Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir after dismissing the petition.
Filing the petition, deputy defense counsel Saad Hashmi claimed that the National Accountability Bureau’s claims that the facts in all three references are different are “incorrect”.
“NAB brought Gulf Steel Mills, Qatari letter in all the references,” he said, adding that the witnesses in the references are also the same.
All three references have been formed on the basis of Panama Gate Joint Investigation Team report, which was ordered by the apex court to probe assets of the Sharif family, Hashmi added.
The corruption cases
The National Accountability Bureau has in total filed three references against the Sharif family in light of the Supreme Court’s orders in the Panama Papers case verdict of July 28.
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. Their trial in the high-profile corruption case has been separated from other family members’ owing to their continued absence.
The SC in July 28, 2017, Panamagate verdict, while disqualifying Nawaz Sharif from the post of prime minister, had originally set a deadline of six months which ended in mid-March but was extended for two months after the judge requested the apex court.
Later, the trial court’s second plea for a deadline extension was approved by the Supreme Court which to both sides to finish the corruption cases by June 9.
On Monday, Judge Muhammad Bashir had remarked that he would write a letter to the Supreme Court requesting another extension to wrap up corruption references against the Sharif family.