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Tuesday October 26, 2021

Avenfield apartment case: NAB orders sale of Nawaz’s properties

September 22, 2021
Avenfield apartment case: NAB orders sale of Nawaz’s properties

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Tuesday ordered the immediate sale of properties belonging to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and it has written a letter to deputy commissioners concerned in this regard, The News has learnt.

For the first time in the country’s history, the decision to recover fines from a former prime minister has been implemented, said Lahore NAB office director-general Shahzad Saleem in the letter.

The country’s accountability watchdog maintained that it had initiated the proceedings to recover £8 million fine — equivalent to Rs1.85 billion — from Nawaz in the Avenfield apartment case. Aside from the imposition of fines, an accountability court had sentenced Nawaz to 10 years of imprisonment in July 2018.

In the letter, the deputy commissioners have been apprised of all details of Nawaz Sharif’s saleable properties, including bungalows on Lahore's Upper Mall Road and agriculture land in Sheikhupura and other areas.

The proceeds from the sale of the properties would be used for the development of the country, the letter said, adding that if the full amount of the fine was not recovered, a search to unearth more assets of the convict will be launched.

In 2016, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists had released leaked documents of Mossack Fonseca, a private law firm based in Panama, which disclosed details of offshore companies incorporated under the laws of the British Virgin Islands.

It said Nawaz Sharif owned two offshore companies, Nescoll Limited and Nielson Enterprises Limited. The companies bought apartments no. 16, 16 A, 17 and 17 A, in Avenfield House, Park Lane, London, in 1993, 1995, and 1996.

The NAB claims the apartments were purchased by Nawaz and his children through “corrupt, dishonest or illegal means” because his children had no source of income in 1993. “A father is a natural guardian of his children, thus the stance taken by the accused (Nawaz Sharif) that his children were dependents of their grandfather could not be substantiated,” the bureau was quoted in the IHC judgment.

The NAB had also accused Maryam Nawaz Sharif of producing bogus trust deeds, dated 2006, which were also signed by her husband Captain (retd) Safdar as a witness. As a result, the accountability court convicted Nawaz Sharif to 10 years, Maryam to seven, and Safdar to one year in jail. Later, a judgment by the Islamabad High Court, written by Justice Athar Minallah, suspended the sentences of all the three accused.

As per details of known properties of Nawaz Sharif, he owns agricultural land measuring 940 Kanal at Mauza Manak, Lahore; agriculture land measuring 299 Kanal at Badhuki Sahni; 103 Kanal agriculture land at Mauza Mall, 312 Kanal at Mauza Sultankey; 14 Kanal agriculture land at Mauza Mandiala, Sheikhupura, a bungalow # 135 at Upper Mall Lahore, etc.

After the conclusion of the trial, Accountability Court (AC), Islamabad, in its judgment on July 6, 2018, had ordered attachment of Avenfield apartments Nos. 16, 16-A, 17 & 17-A. Nawaz Sharif filed an appeal before the Islamabad High Court against the judgment, however, it was dismissed on June 23, 2021. Therefore, the judgment passed by the Accountability Court is considered final after the accused failed to file an appeal in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.