Accountability court reserves verdict on NAB plea in Avenfield flats case

Accountability court rejects Nawaz, Maryam's requests for exemption from appearance

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court here on Friday resumed hearing a supplementary reference filed against the Sharif family in the Avenfield properties case, however, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz didn’t show up to the court.
At the outset of hearing, Sharif’s counsel submitted a plea seeking exemption from personal appearance for the former premier and his daughter.
He apprised the court that Sharif is in Karachi and couldn’t appear before the court owing to personal engagements.
On the occasion, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Sardar Mazhar Abbasi submitted an application requesting the court to document statements of two foreign witnesses via video link.
The prosecutor informed Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir that the witnesses would be available on February 6 and 7 to record their statements through video link.
The judge then reserved a decision on the plea submitted by NAB, which is expected to be announced later today.
At the last hearing on Tuesday, the court had rejected objections raised on a supplementary reference filed against the Sharif family in the Avenfield properties case.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar showed up before the accountability court as it resumed the hearing of the graft references filed against them by the NAB.
The anti-graft body had filed a supplementary reference after obtaining additional evidence about the Avenfield flats under the mutual legal assistance (MLA) in January 2018.
Khawaja Harris, the Sharifs’ lawyer, while objecting to the reference, said there was no need to file a supplementary reference against his clients. The new information and evidence obtained under the MLA would have been made part of the case with court’s approval, he added.
According to the reference, Sharif is the actual owner of the London properties, which he had bought in the name of his children.
It alleges Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz and son Hussain Nawaz provided fake documents to a joint investigation team appointed to probe the ruling family’s wealth with regard to the flats in a pricey London neighbhourhood.
The reference states that the Sharifs failed to provide the money trail behind the purchase of the Avenfield flats and the Trust Deed between Maryam and Hussain presented to the JIT found to be fake.
Naming Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, sons – Hussain and Hasan – and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar as accused in the reference, it maintains they have committed corruption, which is punishable act under Section 10 of the National Accountability Ordinance.
It further says that an investigation against, Tariq Shafi, former premier’s cousin, Saeed Ahmed, President National Bank of Pakistan, Javed Kayani and Mosa Ghani was also underway.
The supplementary reference included seven witnesses, including expert of the Radley Forensic Document Laboratory in London, Robert W. Radley and solicitor.
TV interviews of the former premier, Maryam, Hasan and Hussain have also been made a part of the evidence.


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