Failing to appear at the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) Lahore office on Tuesday, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his family members and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar submitted a statement to the Bureau saying they will not appear before investigators till review petitions filed in the Supreme Court against the Panamagate verdict are decided upon.
Although the Sharif family’s intention not to appear before investigators had been made apparent earlier, this is the first time an official position in this regard has been taken before the Bureau.
NAB had sent a third notice earlier to Nawaz, his two sons ─ Hussain and Hassan ─ his daughter Mariam, and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar to appear before investigators today for an inquiry into the ownership of flats number 16, 16A, 17 and 17A at Avenfield House in London's Park Lane area.
The finance minister was separately summoned on a second notice for an inquiry into his assets and incomes.
However, sources in the NAB have claimed that irrespective of whether Sharif family appears before the bureau or not, Avenfield Flats and Ishaq Dar inquiry reports will be submitted to Justice Ijazul Ahsan next week.
The decision was taken in a meeting of the bureau headed by DG NAB Lahore Saleem Shehzad and attended by the legal and operations wings of the bureau.
NAB Lahore has already begun working on an initial report, the sources said.
NAB, as directed by the SC, is investigating discrepancies in Dar's assets and funds. The joint investigation team (JIT) that probed Panamagate had revealed in its report that Dar's assets exceeded his known sources of income.
The JIT had stated that Dar had invested 5.5 million British pounds in Baraq Holdings in the UAE, but the source of these funds was not disclosed; it was only revealed that around 4.97 million pounds were given to him by his son.
In its inquiry against Dar, the bureau is expected to question the exorbitant increase in his assets from 2008 to 2009, which was pointed out in the JIT report.
Dar had previously been summoned to appear before investigators on August 18 but had not shown up.
Dar, in his review petition filed in the SC a day earlier, challenged the court's verdict on the Panama Papers case, arguing that a reference against him cannot be filed based on a "spurious JIT report".
Later, the minister said that NAB could not summon him following his petition since the decision under which the bureau was investigating was under review.
Similarly, on August 15, Nawaz had filed three separate petitions in the SC to review and stay further implementation of the Panamagate verdict.
Dar's petition against the Panamagate verdict and the Sharif family's absence at prior NAB summons had already made their appearance before investigators today unlikely.
During Tuesday's session, NAB's operational and legal teams, under the supervision of director general Saleem Shahzad, considered sending a report to the SC regarding the Sharif family's non-cooperation.