Sunday April 14, 2024

Avenfield reference: Apartments were in possession of Sharif family in 1999, says NAB

By Faisal Kamal Pasha
June 09, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) Additional Deputy Prosecutor General (ADPG) Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi told the Accountability Court on Friday that it was proved beyond any doubt that Avenfield apartments were in the possession of Sharif family in 1999 as per the affidavit of Shezi Nackvi in Al-Towfeek case and also as per the judgment and consequential loan settlement.

He said Qatari royal family had no role in defending Al-Towfeek case, and there is no mention of Qataris in Nawaz Sharif’s address to the public as well. As per the judgment of Justice Queen’s Bench Division London, he said, the Sharif family was in possession of the London flats in 1999, so their claim that they acquired these flats in 2006 is false.

Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi concluded his final arguments in Avenfield apartments corruption reference. For the defence team, comprising Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain (R) Muhammad Safdar’s lawyers, whether or not to forward final arguments in the matter at this stage, will be decided by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

During the proceedings, the Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir inquired about Nawaz Sharif’s petition challenging the AC order dated June 5 for postponement of final arguments. At this, the NAB ADPG said that notices were issued to the NAB and there is a date fixed after two weeks, but there is no restraining order passed by the IHC.

About Mian Sharif’s settlement of properties, the ADPG said that whatever settlement he did, it came to surface in 2009 and Avenfield was not among the properties. At the first place, he said, the accused accepted ownership of these flats but their claim is from 2006.

“We have proved with evidence that the property is in their possession since 1993. The source for acquisition of these flats as provided by the accused was Qatari investment and later on settlement.

We have proved that the source was totally wrong and now they had to prove themselves right that they didn’t,” ADPG said. Referring to the arguments of Nawaz Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris, he said that he had been trying to establish there is no direct evidence to prove that Nawaz Sharif was owner of the Avenfield properties.

“It is not our case and we are instead trying to establish that Nawaz Sharif acquired those properties in the name of his benamidars to conceal the real ownership. Whenever some property is being acquired from the ill-gotten money, no-one acquires it in his own name but in the name of his benamidars. As per evidence available, Maryam Nawaz is the owner of Nielsen and Nescoll and she don’t have any independent source of income,” Muzaffar Abbasi said.

About relationship between Quist Solicitors’ Akhtar Raja and Joint Investigation Team (JIT) head Wajid Zia, the ADPG said that due to the relationship, they cannot discard statement of Robert William Radley, the forensic expert who himself endorsed his report appearing before this court. He said the accused on the other hand haven’t rebutted the statement of Radley with the statement of another expert. Furthermore, he said, there is no proof of any enmity and bias of Akhtar Raja for the Sharif family.

The Supreme Court’s deadline for adjudication of these cases will expire today (Saturday). The AC judge has applied for extension in the deadline and if the SC grants more time, the AC on Monday would resume hearing in Al-Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment corruption reference where Nawaz Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris is cross-examining Wajid Zia.