Accountability court indicts Nawaz Sharif in 3rd reference

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Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif looks on during a joint news conference with Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, following their meeting in Ankara,Turkey, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. Sharif, in Turkey on an official visit, will have meetings with the Turkish leadership. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

ISLAMABAD : Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been indicted in the Flagship Investment Ltd reference filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

 

After getting charged in Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield properties references, ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also been indicted by accountability court in Flagship Investment Limited reference Friday.

 

During the proceedings, the court declared  former prime minsiter‘s sons Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz as absconders in a reference regarding a dozen offshore companies in United Kingdom (UK) and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

 

The companies include Flagship Investments Limited, Hartstone Properties Limited, Que Holdings Limited, Quint Eaton Place 2 Limited, Quint Saloane Limited, Quaint Limited, Flagship Securities Limited, Quint Gloucester Place Limited, Quint Paddington Limited, Flagship Developments Limited, Alanna Services Limited (BVI), Lankin SA (BVI), Chadron Inc, Ansbacher Inc, Coomber Inc, and Capital FZE in Dubai.

 

The representative of Nawaz Sharif, Zaafir Khan, denied all allegations.

 

The charges state that the former premier remained chairman of FZE Capital from 2007-14. Nawaz was disqualified by the Supreme Court over his association with the foreign company.

 

The hearing was then adjourned until October 26, when the court will take up all three references against Nawaz and his family.

 

It may be noted that the court is conducting the hearing of three references filed by NAB in light of the Supreme Court directions in the July 28Panama Papers case judgment.

 

Earlier on Thursday, accountability court indicted ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar in the NAB’s Avenfield reference against them while the ex-PM was also charged in Azizia Steel Mills reference afterwards.

 

The accused pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges and termed them as groundless, baseless and unfounded. The lawyer further said that the charges were being framed on a report that is incomplete and controversial.

 

 

The NAB has in total filed three references against the Sharif family and one against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the accountability court, in light of the Supreme Court’s orders in the Panama Papers case verdict of July 28.

 

The anti-graft body was given six weeks, from the date of the apex court’s order, to file the reference in an accountability court while the accountability court was granted six months to wrap up the proceedings.

 

The references against the Sharif family pertain to the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, their London properties and over dozen offshore companies owned by the family.

 

Maryam and Safdar are only nominated in the London properties reference. At an earlier hearing, the court also approved Maryam and Safdar’s bail in the Avenfiled properties case and ordered them to submit surety bonds worth Rs5 million each.

 

Safdar was also directed to take the court’s permission before leaving the country from now on. The judge also provided a copy of the reference — spread over 53 volumes — to Maryam and Safdar.

 

NAB’s Rawalpindi branch prepared two references regarding the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, and the nearly dozen companies owned by the Sharif family.

 

Its Lahore branch prepared a reference on the Sharif family’s Avenfield apartments in London and another against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for owning assets beyond his known sources of income.

 

If convicted, the accused may face up to 14 years imprisonment and lifelong disqualification from holding public office including the freezing of bank accounts and assets.

 

On the other hand, Nawaz Sharif will be returning home on October 24. He said that there is no other example of such indictment given during absence.

 

Former PM declared the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) made to investigate Sharif family‘s London properties as biased.

 

Originally published by NNI

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