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July 20, 2019

Fake trust deed: AC turns down NAB’s plea regarding Maryam

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July 20, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court-I on Friday rejected a NAB plea seeking a separate trial of PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz for submitting a fake trust deed in the court during the hearing of Avenfield property reference.

Maryam appeared before Judge Muhammad Bashir donning a special dress inscribed with the slogan ‘Free Nawaz Sharif’ with the picture of her father in the background.

NAB’s Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi argued that during the hearing of Avenfield reference, the accused had submitted an application stating that ‘the matter of fake trust deed didn't fall in the jurisdiction of NAB and requested the court to view this matter separately after verdict in the London flats case.

He said the court accepted the request and wrote in its decision that the fake deed trial would be conducted after the judgment but the accused didn't challenge this part of the verdict in the IHC.

He further argued that the trial court itself could proceed against anyone within 30 days on submission of a fake evidence. However, he said, the time limit couldn't apply in this matter.

“The NAB had submitted an application to the court just as a reminder,” he added. During hearing, Maryam Nawaz arrived at the rostrum and asked the judge as to why the prosecution had taken one year to remind the trial court.

To this, the NAB prosecutor replied, "Late but better than never." He further argued that the Supreme Court had written in its decision that 'the trial court can take necessary action if it finds the mentioned documents as fake'.

To this Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervaiz argued that according to the law, a court could take action in 30 days on the prosecution’s request. However, the court could see the matter after the judgment of IHC on appeals against the main verdict. “The NAB had submitted such application for the first time,” he added.

Maryam’s counsel requested the court to dismiss the NAB petition as it was non-maintainable. Hearing arguments from both sides, the judge turned down the NAB plea seeking a separate trial for submitting fake documents and said the trial couldn't be initiated unless the Islamabad High Court took a decision on an appeal against the Avenfield property judgment.

Earlier in its plea, the NAB had stated that a separate trial of Maryam Nawaz had to be conducted, as she had submitted a fake trust deed during the Avenfield reference.

Meanwhile, talking to the media outside the court after the hearing, Maryam Nawaz said they were ready to allow a five-year term to the PTI government but the general public was not willing to give them time.

“The PTI government is weak and incompetent and they will be held accountable for failing to run the country,” she added. Maryam said the current rulers had not been able to run the country if they had not put the entire PML-N leadership behind the bars.

Meanwhile, the Accountability Court-I Friday granted 13-day physical remand of former prime minister and PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the LNG corruption case and handed him over to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The NAB produced Abbasi before the judge and requested him to grant his 14-day physical remand for investigation in the LNG corruption reference. Responding to the NAB request, Abbasi said the court should give his 90-day remand so that he could brief them about the LNG project and its details.

He said the NAB still couldn't understand the case and requested the judge to allow him homemade diet food during the remand period. The judge rejected the request and remarked that the NAB will provide him with his choice diet food. The judge allowed the family members to meet Abbasi and directed the NAB to produce him before him on August 1.

Abbasi faces the charge of awarding a Rs220 billion tender to a company in which he was a shareholder. As minister for petroleum and natural resources, he was accused of granting the contract of an LNG terminal to ETPL, Tri-partial agreement, LSA with EETPL and LNG import from Qatar etc.

According to the NAB in the LNG corruption on 10 September 2018, the Supreme Court had directed the NAB to complete the inquiry against former PM Abbasi and others. In June 2018, the NAB approved an inquiry against former premier Nawaz Sharif and Abbasi for granting the contract of LNG terminal for 15 years to their ‘favourite’ company.

According to the arrest warrant, Abbasi is accused of committing the offence of corruption and corrupt practices under Section 9 (a) of National Accountability Ordinance, 1999. Agencies add: Meanwhile, an accountability court Friday extended the judicial remand of three accused to 11 more days for their alleged involvement in money laundering for Shahbaz Sharif family.

Accountability Court, Lahore Judge Ameer Muhammad Khan conducted the proceedings while Fazal Dad, Qasim Qayyum and Aftab Mehmood were produced before him on expiry of their remands.

The investigation officer submitted a report to the judge stating that all the accused had transferred millions of dollars in their accounts. Subsequently, the court extended their judicial remand till July 30. Meanwhile, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Friday filed Park Lane properties reference against former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari.

The reference, approved by the NAB Chairman Justice (retired) Javed Iqbal earlier this month, also nominated 17 others in addition to Zardari.

The PPPP president is already in the NAB detention in the fake accounts case. In a related development, a two-member bench of Sindh High Court Friday granted 7-day protective bail to the PML-N leader Miftah Ismail.

Ismail told the bench that he had been appearing before the NAB and was ready to do so again. He told the judge that the case against him had been filed with bad intentions.

Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro headed the bench. The former finance minister was implicated in the LNG case along with ex-PM and PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

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