Avenfield case: Cross-examination of NAB investigation officer under way

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court hearing corruption cases against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family resumed proceedings of the Avenfield properties reference today.

Nawaz and his family are facing three corruption cases in the Accountability Court-I after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed references against them in light of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case.

As Judge Mohammad Bashir began proceedings, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris began cross-examining NAB investigation officer Imran Dogar, the last prosecution witness.

Dogar had earlier recorded his statement in the court.

He had informed the court that the NAB investigation proves Nawaz was the owner of the London flats while he was holding public office.
“The properties were purchased through offshore companies in someone else’s name [to hide ownership],” Dogar informed the court.
The officer asserted that the suspects failed to prove a source of income for purchasing the properties, adding that the London flats were in the use of Nawaz and his family since 1993.
He also informed the court that the trust deeds which Maryam Nawaz submitted to the JIT were proven fake. Maryam, Hussain and Hasan aided Nawaz in hiding the ownership of the properties, the officer added.

Nawaz and his daughter Maryam are present in court today after they reached Islamabad from Lahore via the motorway.

The cases

The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14, 2017.
The corruption references, filed against the Sharifs, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.
Nawaz and sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only.
The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.
The court originally had a deadline of six months which ended in mid-March but was extended for two months after the judge requested the apex court.