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Friday April 19, 2024

Without income source: How was discrepancy between income, assets ascertained?

By Faisal Kamal Pasha
June 21, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Legal counsel for Nawaz Sharif, Khawaja Haris Ahmad advocate here on Wednesday while forwarding final arguments in Avenfield Apartments corruption reference said that the prosecution even failed to disclose the known sources of income for Nawaz Sharif, how come they say that his assets are beyond means and how they ascertained discrepancy between assets and income of his client.

Regarding Avenfield, London Apartments, there is no proof that these flats ever remained in the possession of Nawaz Sharif that is a pre-condition under section 9 of NAB ordinance. Prosecution had to first establish that the flats remained under his possession and then there was a question whether or not these are in accordance with his known sources of income. When prosecution failed to provide declaration of assets for his client, there is no need to examine the evidence, Haris also said.

Citing from various Supreme Court and Indian high courts judgments, Haris said that even if the prosecution comes to know about the sources of income of an accused, it cannot merely rely upon these and under the law they have to investigate. In this case the prosecution did nothing and just picked material from the Supreme Court and placed it before this court.

Earlier NAB’s deputy prosecutor general (DPG) Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi had presented final arguments in Avenfield Apartments corruption reference and he mainly relied upon the statement of Wajid Zia and JIT report. Whereas Nawaz Sharif counsel through a number of judgments has tried to prove that NAB did not follow the procedure to file these references.

Haris said that under section 14 (C) of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999, the p­rosecution has to prove the fact that the accused person or any other person on his behalf, is in possession, for which the accused person cannot satisfactorily account, of assets or pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known source of income, or that such person has, at or about the time of the commission of the offence with which he is charged, obtained an accretion to his pecuniary resources or property for which he cannot satisfactorily account.

Haris said that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecution had to establish that either Nawaz Sharif, his dependent or benamidars possess title in the Avenfield properties or also that it is disproportionate to his client’s sources of income. Haris said that the prosecution had to establish certain things before shifting the onus at his client that prosecution did not. Referring to a judgment in Hakim Ali Zardari’s case, Haris said that according to the judgment prosecution has to prove that the accused is a public office holder and assets beyond means are in his possession. In this particular case, the Avenfield properties never remained in the possession of his client Nawaz Sharif. Defense counsel said that neither Wajid Zia nor any other witness stated that Nawaz Sharif has any link whatsoever with the properties. He termed the Wajid Zia statement a pack of lies. Haris would continue his arguments today on Thursday as well.