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Sharif family failed to prove sources of income: NAB prosecutor

Says Maryam Nawaz had concealed facts, and also accused individuals had tried to mislead the investigating agency

Islamabad: Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, sons Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz could not provide proof of their income sources, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar said on Wednesday.

NAB Prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi while presenting his final arguments in Avenfield properties case told the court that the Sharif family had failed to prove its sources of income. Moreover, he informed the court that Maryam Nawaz had concealed the facts, and also the accused individuals had tried to mislead the investigating agency.

The remarks were made during the hearing of the Avenfield reference against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family by Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir.

The Avenfield reference, concerning the Sharif family’s London properties, is one of the three cases filed against the Sharif family by the national anti-graft body last year on the Supreme Court’s directives.

NAB Prosecutor further remarked that Hussain Nawaz moved into the London flats in 1993 and even paid utility bills, while Hasan Nawaz had shifted to the flats in 1994. “Mohammad Nawaz Sharif was the actual owner of Gulf Steel Mills,” he also added.

Nawaz who appeared before the accountability court earlier, left after marking his attendance. As the hearing went underway, Maryam and Captain (retd) Safdar’s lawyer Zafar Khan filed a one-day exemption plea for his clients as Safdar was in Mansehra to obtain nomination papers for the elections.

Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir, who was presiding over the case, approved the request. The hearing was delayed till June 7.

On Tuesday, the accountability court dismissed Nawaz Sharif’s petition requesting for final arguments in all the three references against the Sharif family to be heard together.

Sharif’s counsel Saad Hashmi said that his client would file an appeal against the order of accountability judge Bashir before the Islamabad High Court and said the prosecution had misled the court, leading it to fix the Avenfield reference for final arguments without closing of evidence in the other two references. He said “the accountability court has consistently held that all three references will be decided simultaneously”.

Nawaz and his family are facing three corruption references in the accountability court — Avenfield Properties, Al Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investments — which accuse them of money-laundering, tax evasion and hiding offshore assets.

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.

Hasan and Hussain have been declared proclaimed offenders by the accountability court for repeated failure to appear before the court since last year and separated their trial from other members of the family.

The three references have been filed by the National Accountability Bureau against the Sharif family in light of the Supreme Court’s orders in the Panama Papers case verdict of July 28.

In a related development on Wednesday, NAB has approved inquiries against former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, chief ministers Shahbaz Sharif and Qaim Ali Shah, and others in separate cases. An inquiry has been approved against Nawaz and Abbasi for allegedly awarding a 15-year contract for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal against the rules when Abbasi was the petroleum minister in Nawaz’s cabinet.

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