ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which earlier seemed reluctant to proceed against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, has finally decided to file references against him, his children and son-in-law, as well as the former finance minister.
The decision to file four references against the Sharif family was taken in NAB’s Executive Board Meeting (EBM), held on Monday with Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry in the chair.
“The meeting was held in compliance of honorable Supreme Court’s judgement dated July 28, 2017 regarding the Panama [Papers] case. It was decided to file four references in the accountability courts of Islamabad/Rawalpindi in the stipulated time period of six weeks from the date of judgement,” said an official press release issued from the NAB headquarters.
The references will be related to the Sharif family’s flats in London and their two steel mills in Saudi Arabia. The former finance minister, meanwhile, will face an inquiry into his assets beyond known source of income.
Three cases each against Nawaz, Hussain, Hassan; two against Maryam; one each against Capt Safdar and Ishaq Dar
According to NAB, a reference related to the Avenfield House properties (flats 16, 16-A, 17 and 17-A Avenfield House, Park Lane, London) will be filed against Nawaz Sharif, Maryam, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, as well as retired Captain Mohammad Safdar.
A second reference, related to the establishment of Azizia Steel Company and Hill Metal Establishment, will be filed against Nawaz Sharif, Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz.
The third reference will be filed against Hussain, Hassan and Maryam Nawaz Sharif. “A reference will be filed relating to the companies mentioned in paragraph 9 of the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Panama [Papers] case,” the NAB press release said.
These include Flagship Investments Limited, Hartstone Properties Limited, Que Holdings Limited, Quint Eaton Place 2 Limited, Quint Saloane Limited (formerly Quint Eaton Place Limited), Quaint Limited, Flagship Securities Limited, Quint Gloucester Place Limited, Quint Paddington Limited (formerly Rivates Estates Limited), Flagship Developments Limited, Alanna Services Limited (BVI), Lankin SA (BVI), Chadron Inc, Ansbacher Inc, Coomber Inc; and Capital FZE (Dubai).
NAB’s official announcement said the fourth reference will filed against Ishaq Dar for possessing assets beyond his known sources of income.
NAB will not initiate fresh investigations in all four references and will rely on the Joint Investigation Team’s (JIT) report and the reports of other investigations already conducted by it or the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
“The references will be prepared on the basis of the material collected and referred by the JIT in its report and some other material [that] may be available with FIA and NAB having nexus with the assets in the below mentioned cases or which might subsequently become available including material that may become available in pursuant to the mutual legal assistance requests sent by JIT to different jurisdictions,” the NAB meeting decided, in line with the Supreme Court verdict.
On Monday, the officers concerned were directed to ensure the efficient and professional handling of the entire process, which should be completed within the specified time-limit.
According to the JIT report, NAB is presently investigating 28 different cases against the Sharif family, but they had been put on the backburner.
Interestingly, the Supreme Court verdict questioned the role of the NAB chairman, who had seemingly favoured the Sharifs in the Hudaibya Paper Mills case by not challenging the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) decision to quash it.
“NAB did not challenge that judgement before the Supreme Court through any petition/appeal as NAB chairman had been appointed by [Nawaz Sharif] himself and, therefore, he had returned the favour by not filing any petition/appeal in that case against [Mr Sharif] and others. NAB chairman had failed in due performance of his duty in that regard,” the verdict said.
Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2017