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No ‘bright evidence’ of corruption found against Nawaz: AC

By Usman Manzoor
July 07, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Handing down the much-awaited verdict in the Avenfield Apartments reference against the Sharif family, the Accountability Court-I Judge Muhammad Bashir Friday said the prosecution had failed to bring any ‘bright evidence’ to prove that the London flats were bought from corruption money.

However, the elder Sharif, daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain (R) Safdar have been convicted for possessing assets which were kept benami and were not declared by the family.

The judge also stated that it was difficult to prove the ownership of flats, as they were purchased through offshore companies in the tax havens. However, he convicted the Sharifs on the basis of presumptions.

While handing down 174-page judgement, Judge Muhammad Bashir mentioned that the “prosecution have not brought evidence in respect of Section 9 (a) (iv) of National Accountability Ordinance 1999. So the accused are acquitted under that section of the law.”

It is worth mentioning that the Sharifs were indicted under Sections 9-a(iv) and 9-a(v) of the NAO 1999. Section 9 a-(iv) states: “if he by corrupt, dishonest, or illegal means, obtains or seeks to obtain for himself, or for his spouse or dependents or any other person, any property, valuable thing, or pecuniary advantage.”

The judge convicted Sharifs under Section 9 a(v) of the NAO.

Section 9 a (v) reads, “If he or any of his dependents or benamidar owns, possesses, or has acquired right or title in any “assets or holds irrevocable power of attorney in respect of any assets or pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources of income, which he cannot reasonably account for or maintains a standard of living beyond that which is commensurate with his sources of income”.

The judgement narrates that when the flats in Avenfield were purchased the ages of Nawaz Sharif’s children were below twenty; therefore, Sharif could not say that he did not provide any money to his children as “generally children are dependent on their parents during their tender age.” The judge wrote that the London flats were in possession of Hussain Nawaz during the 90s which he presumed to be owned by the Sharifs because Sharifs did not produce some documents in the court and that they lived in those flats. The judge himself stated that it was difficult to prove the ownership of London flats because they were bought through offshore companies.