LAHORE – National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal on Wednesday approved a corruption reference against former PM Nawaz Sharif and Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif, official documents show.
The decision was taken during an executive board meeting on December 27. The NAB chief directed the bureau to file six corruption references, complete four pending inquiries, and 11 investigations against different politicians and officers.
The reference against the Sharif brothers relate to alleged corruption of Rs120 million in construction of a two-way road from Raiwind to the Sharif family home in Jati Umra in the year 2000.
The board also approved an investigation in relation to the Nandipur power project in which former minister Babar Awan, former minister for water and power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and others are included for allegedly causing a delay in the project, due to which the national exchequer incurred a loss of Rs113 billion.
References against Sharif family
The NAB has in total filed three references against the Sharif family and another against the then-Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the accountability court, in light of the Supreme Court’s orders in the Panama Papers case verdict of July 28.
The anti-graft body was given six weeks, from the date of the apex court’s order, to file the reference in an accountability court while the accountability court was granted six months to wrap up the proceedings.
The references against the Sharif family pertain to the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, their London properties, and over dozen offshore companies allegedly owned by the family.
Maryam and Safdar are only nominated in the London properties reference. At an earlier hearing, the court also approved Maryam and Safdar’s bail in the Avenfield properties case and ordered them to submit surety bonds worth Rs5 million each.
Safdar was also directed to take the court’s permission before leaving the country from now on. The judge also provided a copy of the reference — spread over 53 volumes — to Maryam and Safdar.
NAB’s Rawalpindi branch prepared two references regarding the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, and the nearly dozen companies owned by the Sharif family.
Its Lahore branch prepared a reference on the Sharif family’s Avenfield apartments in London and another against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for owning assets beyond his known sources of income.
If convicted, the accused may face up to 14 years imprisonment and lifelong disqualification from holding public office including the freezing of bank accounts and assets.
Besides the Sharif family, the bureau has also been directed to file a corruption reference against Sahibzada Khalid, former chairman of Pakistan Tobacco Board, relating to alleged illegal appointments, and Syed Asif Akhtar Hashmi, ex-chairman of Evacuee Trust Property Board, for misusing his authority and alleged irregularities in allotment of 450 plots – which resulted in a loss of billions to the public exchequer.
The anti-corruption watchdog will also file corruption references against former secretary Labour Sindh, Nasar Hayat and others, and ex-Chairman Wapda Tariq Hameed.
The NAB Executive Board also approved a reference against Dr Zafar Iqbal, former vice-chancellor of Federal Urdu University, for alleged embezzlement and misuse of authority.
NAB will also launch investigations into the alleged corruption of former PM Yousaf Raza Gilani, former minister for telecommunications Dr Arbab Alamgir and his wife Asma Arbab, ex-CM Balochistan Nawaz Aslam Raisani, Workers Welfare Board Balochistan former secretary Mumtaz Ali Khan, former MNAs Ghulam Haider Thind and Sultan Mahmood Hanjar, ex-Commissioner DG Khan Fayyaz Bashir, and T&N Faisalabad Director Riaz Ahmad Chawla and others.