Millennium Post

Sharifs assets worth ₹58 mn 18 yrs back: NAB tells court

Islamabad: Pakistan's anti-graft watchdog has informed an accountability court here that ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family's declared assets were nearly Rs 58 million 18 years ago, a media report said on Sunday.

Three corruption cases were filed against 68-year-old Sharif and some of his family members on September 8 following a Supreme Court verdict that disqualified him as prime minister and ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for institution of cases against the PML-N leader.

The cases include Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

In two suplementary references one pertaining to Flagship Investments Limited and 15 other companies, and the other to Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment against Sharif and his sons, NAB said the total declared financial worth of assets of the accused persons as per their tax record in 2000-01 was Rs 50,940,870 and USD 64,984 (Rs 7.18 million), the Express Tribune reported on Sunday.

"The NAB chairman said in the reference that Sharif had acquired Al-Azizia Steel Mills as well as Hill Metal Establishment, but the proceeds were found disproportionate to his known sources of income," the paper said.

In the supplementary references, the NAB said that Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz, in connivance with each other, assisted, abetted and aided Sharif in accumulating and managing assets, the paper reported.

Al-Azizia and Hill Metal supplementary reference stated that the investigation officer had seized material evidence, including certified banking record, regarding remittances sent from Hill Metal Establishment to different persons.

NAB claimed that Sharif had acquired and owned "assets and its crime proceeds [are] in millions of rupees" with the active connivance of his sons as dependents/benamidars, the paper said.

In the Flagship supplementary reference, NAB said that the bureau collected material evidence, including certified record, pertaining to companies and properties established in the UK by the accused persons.

Subsequently, the top anti-graft body said that the record establishes and reaffirms the ownership as well as acquisition of assets by the accused persons.

The prosecution said that the accused persons were given fair opportunities to explain and provide evidence justifying the accumulation of assets but they failed to do so.

NAB stated that the accused persons' public statements through media as well as record produced in their defence before the Supreme Court and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the Panama Papers were found "untrue".

Sharif and his sons have been named in all three interim and supplementary references while Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar have only been named in the interim and supplementary reference pertaining to Avenfield properties.

Currently, Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir is recording evidence in the Avenfield properties reference.

On February 22, two foreign witnesses would record their statements via video link.

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