New London property belonging to Sharif family to be referred to NAB: Shahzad Akbar

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ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar on Saturday said that the Assets Recovery Unit was referring the case of a new London property belonging to the Sharif family to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
While bringing attention to a property that he said “had been revealed by the media”, Akbar — in a press conference alongside Adviser to PM Iftikhar Durrani — said that investigative journalists were his closest partners in the responsibility he had been given.
He said that a media channel had broken the news of a property located in Central London which “had a current value of 2.2 or 2.3 million pounds”.
Akbar added that the rental income and ownership documents for this property from 2012 to 2016 had been available “but were put away in files”.
According to these documents, the flat in London was under the name of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, the late wife of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
The special assistant to PM said that as the premier and a member of the National Assembly (MNA), it was Nawaz Sharif’s responsibility to declare the ownership of his dependents, including his wife’s.
He said that this declaration could have been made in two ways; on a wealth statement that every citizen is required to submit while declaring his/her spouse’s assets — or as a member of the parliament in the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) forms.
Akbar added that as an MNA, there is also an annual declaration submitted in the assembly.
While holding up a document of the ECP forms and wealth statement, Akbar said that this property had not been shared anywhere and this made it a new case of assets beyond known income.
He said that further investigation of assets beyond known income should be carried out by NAB while tax related liability has been given to the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR).
While saying that the case will be pursued by both [NAB and FBR], Akbar added that they have also asked Britain for fresh ownership documents of the concerned property.
Akbar said that according to the land registry, in August 2016 this property was transferred to Hassan Nawaz’s name.
The latest date for its sale is from March 2018, Akbar added.
“We have asked Britain for all these documents and they might come in a week or two. We will put all of that in front of you, what the whole trail of this was — till when this property was under the Sharif family and when they sold it and for how much.”
“The question comes up again which has remained the question in all the cases: where did these properties come from, what was their source of income, and what is their trail of money.
“When you don’t declare something and get caught, the first question is where did it come from, you have to declare a source of income for it,” he remarked.
In July this year, an accountability court in its verdict in the Avenfield properties corruption reference had handed the ousted prime minister 10 years as jail time for owning assets beyond known income and his daughter Maryam was given 7 years for abetment after she was found “instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father”. Sharif’s son-in-law retired Captain 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.

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