ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) informed an accountability court conducting the Sharif family’s trial on charges of assets beyond means that their declared assets were roughly Rs58 million 18 years ago.
In two supplementary references – one pertaining to Flagship Investments Limited and 15 other companies, and the other to Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment – against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his sons, NAB stated that the total declared financial worth of assets of the accused persons as per their tax record in 2000-01 was Rs50,940,870 and $64,984. The latter figure is equivalent to Rs7.18 million today.
The NAB chairman said in the reference that Sharif had acquired Al-Azizia Steel Mills as well as Hill Metal Establishment, but the proceeds were found disproportionate to his known sources of income.
In the supplementary references, the NAB stated that Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz, in connivance with each other, assisted, abetted and aided Sharif in accumulating and managing assets.
Al-Azizia and Hill Metal supplementary reference stated that the investigation officer had seized material evidence, including certified banking record, regarding remittances sent from Hill Metal Establishment to different persons.
NAB claimed that Sharif had acquired and owned “assets and its crime proceeds [are] in millions of rupees” with the active connivance of his sons as dependents/benamidars.
In the Flagship supplementary reference, NAB said that the bureau collected material evidence, including certified record, pertaining to companies and properties established in the United Kingdom by the accused persons.
Subsequently, the top anti-graft body said that the record establishes and reaffirms the ownership as well as acquisition of assets by the accused persons.
The prosecution said that the accused persons were given fair opportunities to explain and provide evidence justifying the accumulation of assets but they failed to do so.
NAB stated that the accused persons’ public statements through media as well as record produced in their defence before the Supreme Court and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the Panama Papers were found “untrue”.
Once again, NAB said that the final responses to the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLAs) requests forwarded to foreign jurisdictions are still awaited. In the interim references against the Sharif family, NAB had stated the same, saying it would be placed before the court when received.
Sharif and his sons have been named in all three interim and supplementary references while Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar have only been named in the interim and supplementary reference pertaining to Avenfield properties.
In January, the NAB prosecution team had filed a supplementary reference against the Sharif family in the Avenfield Apartments case, stating that criminal role of some key accused in the case was being investigated and the bureau would file a second supplementary reference as and when required.
In the reference, NAB stated that “investigation to the extent of the criminal roles of Musa Ghani, Saeed Ahmed, Javaid Kayani and Tariq Shafi” in aiding and abetting the accused is under progress as MLA from foreign countries is still awaited.
Currently, Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir is recording evidence in the Avenfield properties reference. On February 22, two foreign witnesses would record their statements via video link.
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