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May 21, 2018

Illegal road-widening: Nawaz again fails to appear before NAB

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May 21, 2018

LAHORE: Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif again failed to appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Lahore, for questioning on Sunday in connection with “illegal widening of a road”, from Raiwind Road to Jati Umra residences of the Sharif family. Over his non-cooperation, NAB has decided to file another reference against him, according to sources.

Also, the Accountability Court Islamabad will hear the Avenfield apartments case today (Monday) and Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar record their statements. They have already been handed over 29-page questions, to which they would submit their replies in the court. As far as Sunday appearance was concerned, Nawaz Sharif had been accused of misuse of authority for widening of the road, which caused Rs125 million losses to the national exchequer. It was for the second time that the former premier failed to appear before the NAB authorities. Earlier, NAB had summoned Nawaz on April 21, when he failed to appear before the authorities.

The sources told this scribe that the matter would be placed in the weekly meeting of NAB Lahore for further discussion. It could also be referred to NAB Islamabad Headquarters, he added. They said a reference could also be filed without obtaining statement of Nawaz Sharif as homework of the Bureau in the scam is complete. Also, all legalities had been fulfilled including twice summoning of the accused.

NAB Lahore had summoned the former premier to appear before its team and explain alleged misuse of authority during his second tenure as prime minister in 1999. According to NAB officials, Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, now Punjab chief minister, have been found guilty of constructing a road at the government expense for their personal benefit.

NAB alleged that on the directives of Nawaz Sharif, the width of the road leading to Jati Umra was broadened from 20 feet to 24 feet, which increased the construction cost of the project. It is alleged that the funds allocated for development projects by the Lahore district council were used for construction of the road.

NAB also alleged that in order to provide for the extra cost of the project, many small projects of the district council had to be abandoned, causing inconvenience to the public. Investigation against the Sharif brothers in the case was initiated by NAB on April 17, 2000. Despite lapse of 18 years, a reference has yet not been filed in the accountability court.

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