Accountability Court resumes hearing Avenfield reference against Sharif family

Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar’s parole to end today

ISLAMABAD: Hearing of Avenfield properyties reference against Sharif family has resumed in the Accountability Court on Friday.
Nawaz and his family are facing three corruption cases in the Accountability Court-I after the NAB filed references against them in light of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case.Judge Muhammad Bashir will hear the case, former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz will appear before the court.
Yesterday, the accountability court hearing corruption cases against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family was informed that the ex-premier is the beneficial owner of Nielsen and Nescoll offshore companies.
The revelation was made during the cross-examination of prosecution witness of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) investigation officer Imran Dogar in the Avenfield properties reference.
As Judge Mohammad Bashir began proceedings, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris began cross-examining Dogar, the last prosecution witness.During cross-examination, Dogar shared details of the course of NAB’s investigation and issuance of mutual legal assistance requests to the UK authorities regarding the ownership of the London flats and offshore companies.
Dogar informed the court that Nawaz is the benami [actual] owner of the Nielsen and Nescoll offshore companies.
At one point, after the defence counsel’s objection, the judge directed the prosecution to refrain from interacting with the witness.Dogar had earlier recorded his statement in the court.
He had informed the court that the NAB investigation proves Nawaz was the owner of the London flats while he was holding public office.
“The properties were purchased through offshore companies in someone else’s name [to hide ownership],” Dogar informed the court.The officer asserted that the suspects failed to prove a source of income for purchasing the properties, adding that the London flats were in the use of Nawaz and his family since 1993.
He also informed the court that the trust deeds which Maryam Nawaz submitted to the JIT were proven fake. Maryam, Hussain and Hasan aided Nawaz in hiding the ownership of the properties, the officer added.
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.

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