Friday June 14, 2024

NAB team returns to Pakistan without any breakthrough

By Wadood Mushtaq & Murtaza Ali Shah
December 19, 2017

LONDON: A two-member team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has announced that it has completed its investigation in relation to the Avenfield apartments case against the ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Speaking to Geo News at the Heathrow airport upon return to Pakistan, NAB’s Deputy Director Sultan Nazeer, case officer in the Avenfield Reference, and Imran Dogar, investigation officer, claimed that they have “fulfilled the task they were assigned” by their superiors. A source familiar with the NAB probe said that the meetings did take place but nothing new has come to light and “there has been no breakthrough” that could help NAB further than what it already has – publicly available details of Hasan and Hussain.

The NAB duo spent around six days in London as part of their investigation into the children of Hasan and Hussain, sons of former prime minister, and stayed at a Central London hotel booked by Pakistan High Commission.

The NAB officers, speaking off camera, claimed that they had met officers of the National Crime Agency (NCA), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Home Office’s UK Central Authority. A spokesman of the Home Office refused to comment when approached for comment on its meeting with the NAB officials but sources at the NCA and the CPS denied being part of any investigation. Both the NCA and the CPS sources said that there is no case of any wrongdoing against Hussain Nawaz Sharif and the CPS said that no case of wrongdoing has ever been sent to the CPS for consideration for possible charges.

When the NAB officials were asked what exactly was it that they discussed with the UK officials, the NAB officers said that they were “hopeful” about the outcome of these meetings and that their meetings were “fruitful” without elaborating on the details of the meetings.

The NAB officers said: “We have completed our work and will be handing over our findings to the high ups on Tuesday (today).” When asked that the JIT had earlier claimed that it had produced evidence against former premier’s sons and what was it that the NAB was still looking for, the NAB officials said that they cannot comment.

Its understood that the NAB team also met JIT head Wajid Zia’s cousin Akhtar Raja, who had earlier written several letters to the Home Office seeking Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) in relation to Hasan and Hussain, but was told that that these requests should be filed through a formal international Letter of Request (LOR).

In a story published in The News, Ansar Abbasi revealed, quoting a letter by the Home Office, that the UK govt had agreed to provide MLA to the NAB in relation to Hussain Nawaz Sharif but not Hussain Nawaz, who is a British national.

The NAB team confirmed that their meetings were part of the MLA cooperation. A source in NAB said that it has been writing letters regularly and directly to the UK Central Authority’s International Criminality Unit and also doing the same through the Home Office representative in British High Commission who has been forwarding Pakistan’s requests to the Home Office.

The NAB has filed four corruption references against the Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar related to their Avenfield properties, multiple companies that include Flagship Investments, Hartstone properties, Que Holdings, Quaint, Flagship Securities, Quint Gloucester Place, Quint Paddington, Flagship Developments, Alanna Services (BVI), Quint Eaton Place 2, Quint Saloane, Lankin SA (BVI), Chadron, Ansbacher, Coomber and Capital FZE, Dubai, Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals.