Sharif not benami owner of London flats: NAB investigator

ISLAMABAD: The three-day cross-examination of an investigation officer (IO) by the counsel for former premier Nawaz Sharif has revealed that no witness deposed that Sharif is the owner, beneficial owner or benamidar of the London flats, or that he ever paid for the flats from any of his bank accounts.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) IO Imran Dogar admitted before an accountability court holding Sharif family’s trial in line with the apex court July 2017 verdict that no witness told him during the investigation that Sharif is the benami owner of the Avenfield Apartments.
Nobody confirmed that Sharif’s son, Hussain Nawaz, was holding the properties as his benamidar or that the deposed premier paid the money for purchasing the four flats, Dogar told the court.
He admitted that there was no receipt showing acknowledgement of payment for the purchase of the flats by or on behalf of Sharif and no witness stated that Sharif gave any instructions with respect to management of two off-shore companies — Nielson and Nescoll.
In response to Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris, Dogar conceded that there is nothing on record to show that Sharif had given instructions to the service provider companies for the management of the Avenfield Apartments.
When the cross-examination started, the NAB IO in the Avenfield reference informed the bench that the Supreme Court had directed NAB to prepare and file references against the Sharifs and that when the interim reference was filed, no response to mutual legal assistance (MLA) requests was received.
Dogar said that following the SC’s direction, NAB authorised an investigation straightaway and no additional material was collected from the Federal Investigation Agency and NAB. He added that Sharif was summoned for the first time on August 18, 2017.
In response, Dogar admitted, Sharif wrote that requirements of the National Accountability Ordinance of 1999 for the filing of a reference were not met and since the summons stated that decision of filing of reference was already made, therefore, issuance of a summons was just eyewash.
During cross-examination, Haris enquired if any member of the Sharif family was associated in the investigation regarding the family settlement agreement of the Sharif family. Dogar replied that no family members of the accused were associated with the investigation.
Haris asked Dogar a few questions about the funds-flow chart of the accused which was handed over to him earlier. Haris enquired if he knew who prepared the chart or if he had asked the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) chief Wajid Zia the same. Dogar replied in the negative.
Dogar admitted that no efforts were made to find out who made the chart as several experts and officials were hired by the JIT while probing the Panama Papers scandal.