General

Accountability court begins corruption proceedings against Nawaz, family

The accountability court began conducting corruption proceedings against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family on Tuesday.
This is Nawaz’s 13th appearance before the court, which has been conducting proceedings of three references filed against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case.
The references against the Sharif family pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.
The former premier, along with his daughter, Maryam, reached the court to attend the corruption hearing against them. Nawaz’s son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar reached the accountability court earlier.
Witness records statement
Judge Mohammad Bashir then began the proceedings, wherein statements of three prosecution witnesses will be recorded.
The court first began recording the statement of NAB official Nasir Janjua, a witness in the Flagship reference. After recording his statement, Janjua was cross-examined by Khawaja Harris, Nawaz’s counsel.
Earlier today, the former prime minister reached Punjab House and travelled to the Federal Judicial Complex, where the court is situated, along with his daughter.
His party supporters and government officials, including the state information minister, had reached the court earlier.
At the last hearing on January 9, four prosecution witnesses recorded their statements.
The references
The NAB has in total filed three references against the Sharif family and another against the then-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 (Avenfield) properties, and over a dozen offshore companies, including Flahship Investment Ltd, allegedly owned by the family.
Maryam and Safdar are only nominated in the London properties reference.
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 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.