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NAB team heading to UK for probe into Sharifs’ property

Updated November 24, 2017

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) investigators will be proceeding to the United Kingdom to further probe the Avenfield properties case against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members.

“A two-member team of NAB investigators has acq­uired visas and it will proceed to the UK next week,” a source in the bureau told Dawn on Thursday.

NAB has already filed a reference before the Isla­mabad accountability court in connection with the Avenfield properties against Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and two sons Hus­sain and Hassan, as per the directions of the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers judgement.

According to documents sent by British authorities to the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed by the Supreme Court to probe Panamagate, Maryam Nawaz is the beneficial owner of the Avenfield properties.

“NAB investigators will try and verify the documents already handed over to the JIT, so that no one can raise objections over the JIT and NAB investigations,” the source said.

There was no timeline for how long the two investigators, Imran Dogar and Sultan Nazir, would remain in the UK. The two will meet the concerned British authorities and officials to get detailed information regarding the Avenfield properties.

NAB headquarters is presently in contact with the National Crime Agency (NCA), the UK’s premier anti-corruption agency, and the Pakistani High Commission in the UK regarding the meetings being scheduled for the NAB team.

The bureau had written to UK authorities under Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) provisions, seeking details of flats 16, 16-A, 17, 17-A in Avenfield House, Park Lane, London.

Upon their return, the investigators will become prosecution witnesses in the Avenfield case and will apprise the accountability court about their observations and investigations in the UK.

The NAB team will also record the statements of certain key witnesses and collect evidence against the Sharif family. They will also try to meet the main accused in the Avenfield case, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, to record their statements.

Both brothers have been declared proclaimed offenders by the accountability court for not appearing before it.

Also on Thursday, NAB Prosecutor General Waqas Qadeer Dar left the bureau after completing his three-year term and has been replaced by Deputy Prosecutor General Mohammad Akbar Tarar until the appointment of a regular replacement.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2017