IHC reserves verdict on Sharif family’s appeals challenging Avenfield verdict

The Islamabad High Court reserved on Monday its verdict on the appeals filed by the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar challenging the Avenfield verdict against them.
On July 6, an accountability court had sentenced Nawaz to a total of 11 years in prison and slapped a £8 million fine (Rs1.3 billion) in the corruption reference while his daughter Maryam was sentenced to eight years with a £2 million fine (Rs335 million).
Additionally, Nawaz’s son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar was given a one-year sentence without any fine.
The bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mian Gul Mian Hassan Aurangzeb heard the appeals of the Sharif family.
During the court proceedings, the National Accountability Bureau completed its final arguments after which the verdict was reserved.
The NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi remarked that the Avenfield reference, pertaining to Sharif family’s properties in London, were filed upon the orders of the Supreme Court adding that the investigation team was also formed following the instructions of the apex court.
“The London flats were in the name of Nelson and Nescoll, which we proved were owned by Nawaz Sharif,” he said.
Furthermore, Justice Athar Minallah remarked that Nawaz Sharif has been acquitted of true corruption.
“Flats were not bought using money earned from corrupt practices,” he observed.
However, the NAB prosecutor gave reference of a televised interview to which the judge asked him to explain the interview in detail in the appeal.
On July 16, the legal counsels of the Sharif family who are currently serving their respective sentences at Adiala jail had filed three different appeals on behalf of their clients.
Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris filed an appeal challenging the verdict against his client and requesting its suspension till IHC’s adjudication in the case. Similarly, Amjad Pervaiz filed the appeals on behalf of Maryam and Safdar.
An additional appeal was also filed requesting the court to transfer the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references against Nawaz from the court of Accountability Judge-I Mohammad Bashir to another accountability court.
Appeals highlight legal flaws in Avenfield verdictThe appeals — that highlights the legal flaws in the Avenfield judgement — ask for the accountability court’s verdict to be declared null and void and the three convicts to be released on bail.
It states that the Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) head and prosecution’s star witness Wajid Zia himself accepted that a response to the mutual legal assistance (MLA) request was not received.
It further said that levelling allegations without receiving a response to the MLA was mala fide.
Legal counsels of the convicts have contended that the prosecution’s witness Robert Radley not only stated that Calibri font was available for testing purposes, he admitted to having downloaded and used the Calibri font which was available as pre-release of Windows Vista known as BETA-1 since the year 2005 while simultaneously admitting that he was neither a computer expert nor an IT expert or a computer geek.