NAB prosecutor wraps final arguments in Flagship Investment reference

09:43 AM | 18 Dec, 2018
NAB prosecutor wraps final arguments in Flagship Investment reference
ISLAMABAD - The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor on Tuesday completed his final arguments in the Flagship reference against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

While winding up the arguments in the accountability court, the prosecutor, Asghar Awan, maintained that the former premier had been receiving a salary of AED10,000 from Capital FZE between 2006 and 2013.

He said that the members of the Sharif family were provided various chances to justify their assets but they did not avail them.

The prosecutor said the Sharif family took plea before the Supreme Court that while they were in exile, Mian Mohammad Sharif, the former premier’s father who died in 2004, gave AED5.4 million to Hussain Nawaz and AED4.2 million to Hassan Nawaz to set up their business in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.

The Sharif family, the prosecutor told, claimed that the late Mian Sharif had gave money to his grandsons from the AED12 million which he had invested with the Qatari royal family.

The NAB counsel highlighted that Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani never appeared before the Panamagate joint investigation team to verify the money trail provided by Sharifs.

Khawaja Haris Ahmed, the counsel for Nawaz, contended that the JIT did not make serious efforts to record the statement of the Qatari prince.

Countering objections raised by the prosecutor over the money trail, Haris clarified that the late Mian Sharif set up Gulf Steel Mills (GSM) in the UAE in 1974, adding that it was sold to Abdullah Kayed Ahli.

The amount of AED12 million gotten by selling the mills was, later, invested with the Qatari roly family.

The prosecutor argued that these were private transactions according to the Sharif family as the amount was never transferred through official channels. He said that the JIT did not rely upon the Sharif family version as no official channel was used for transactions.

He further argued that the Sharifs were required to justify the investment of AED5.4 million by Hussain in Al-Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment and AED4.2 million by Hassan in Flagship Investment and other companies but the family could not provide any substantial evidence.

He asserted that former prime minister was the real owner of the companies established by his sons while both his children were benamidar.

As the prosecutor wrapped the arguments, Haris sought time to submit a rebuttal over the prosecution’s allegations.

Subsequently, the court adjourned the proceedings till.

Previous Hearing

On Monday, Khawaja Haris, counsel for former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz, Monday concluded his final arguments before the Accountability Court-II of Islamabad in the case.

During the course of proceedings, the defence lawyer pleaded that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) had not asked the former prime minister about the ownership of Capital FZE company.

He said Nawaz Sharif had disclosed information about his visa of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in miscellaneous applications submitted with the Supreme Court.

At this, AC Judge Arshad Malik, who was conducting the hearing, observed that only a copy of Nawaz’s passport was attached with miscellaneous applications, which did not show the portfolio the accused had held in the Capital FZE.

Khawaja Haris said the JIT had also not verified the trade license from the UAE authority before presenting the same to the court. The JIT also did not send any mutual legal assistance (MLA) to the UAE for verification of the source documents, and that fact was being concealed, he alleged.

The sources documents, he said, could not be presented as evidence against his client. He said the JIT even did not file any application to seek the business details of Capital FZE.

To a query of the judge, the counsel said the Capital FZE was a one-man company and there was no specified procedure for appointment of its board chairman.

The judge then remarked that once the NAB prosecutor concluded its arguments, the court would grant time to the defense lawyer for cross-arguments.

The court asked Haris to give a statement regarding the completion of evidence after the submission of documents in favour of his client.

At this, Haris said he hoped that the remaining documents would be received by Tuesday.

After the defense finished his arguments, the court adjourned the case till Tuesday.

The Cases

As many as three references have been filed against the former premier in line with the directives of the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case verdict – a decision that ousted Nawaz Sharif from the PM House in July last year.

The accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir had sentenced the elder Sharif to ten years in the Avenfield reference. However, the conviction was suspended by a two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court.

NAB has moved the Supreme Court against the decision of the Islamabad High Court which will hear the case on December 12.

Besides Sharif, Maryam Nawaz was sentenced to 7 years and Captain Safdar was sentenced to one year in prison in the Avenfield reference which pertains to the pricey flats of the former ruling family.