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December 30, 2018

Al-Azizia verdict: Nawaz lawyers to challenge basis of conviction in appeal to IHC


December 30, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s lawyers are likely to give a ‘surprise’ element in its appeal to be filed with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the Accountability Court-II’s decision in Al-Azizia reference.

According to some insiders, Nawaz lawyers would try to challenge the basis on which he was convicted, The News learnt reliably on Saturday.

Sources quite privy to the process of preparation of the draft of appeal against the accountability court decision confided to this correspondent that Nawaz Sharif was declared beneficial owner and convicted on the basis of Aldar audit report that allegedly showed that he’d received 88 percent share of the Hill Metal Establishmet’s profit as gifts but in reality he got only 19.40 percent of the total profit [as gifts].

They said fresh documents to be provided to the IHC by the lawyers of Nawaz Sharif would mainly focus on the fact that the allegation of receiving 88 percent share of the profit of Hill Metal Establishment was baseless and Nawaz Sharif was sentenced on the basis of wrong calculation.

The source said the NAB in its report maintained that “The net profits of Hill Metal Establishment conducted by JIT, based on a document (i.e. “Auditor’s Certificate dated 19-01-2017) submitted on behalf of Hussain Nawaz (through CMA 432/17 in GP No29/16 Pages 133-134) in the Supreme Court, it already stands proved from the given figures of the net profits of the Hill Metal Establishment during the period 2010 to 2014 that almost 88 percent of the claimed total net profit made by said entity was transferred to Nawaz Sharif.”

“Interestingly, the NAB failed to produce any kind of documents acquired through its own investigation and instead it produced this audit report as a proof against the former prime minister that was provided by Hussain Nawaz to the Supreme Court during the hearing of the Panama case,” the sources said.

The sources said the team of lawyers headed by senior legal practitioner Khawaja Haris would now produce some more documents that have so far not been provided to any court.

According to them this would be enough to prove that Nawaz Sharif received only 19.40 percent of the total profit of the Hill Metal Establishment as gifts from his son Hussain Nawaz.

The sources said Hussain Nawaz also shared the documents with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) that was provided by him to the Supreme Court during the hearing in the Panama case, adding “So the documents on the basis of which NAB implicated the former prime minister in the reference were the ones produced by no one else but by his own son Hussain Nawaz before the court during the hearing of the Panama case.”

The sources pointed out that the Joint Investigation team (JIT) never contacted any officer of the Aldar Audit Bureau to obtain financial statements and the NAB failed to trace any incriminating material against Nawaz Sharif during the investigation.

Now, the sources said, the lawyers representing Nawaz Sharif would maintain in the appeal that the evidence presented by the NAB prosecutors before the Accountability Court was ‘incomplete’ and ‘insufficient’ and thus not ‘admissible’.

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