Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif owned the Avenfield properties while he was a public office holder, the investigating officer (IO) in the corruption reference against the Sharif family informed an accountability court on Wednesday.

Imran Dogar stated that Sharif used offshore companies Nielsen and Nescoll Ltd to buy the properties in London while he was the actual owner of the apartments. He said that during investigations, the accused were unable to provide their sources of income and that the properties have been in ownership of the Sharifs since 1993.

He said the trust deeds submitted by Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz — which had stirred the Calibri controversy last year — were proven to be fake, alleging that in acting as benamidars for Sharif, his children Maryam, Hassan and Hussain aided their father in his crime.

"Investigations reveal that the accused were found involved in corruption and corrupt practices," Dogar said, adding that the accused had failed to appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) despite being notified twice — on August 18, 2017 and December 28, 2017.

He revealed that the Bureau had received two letters sent by Advocate Amjad Pervaiz, Khawaja Harris and Nazeer Ahmed Bhutta on August 22 and December 30 last year.

Harris, representing Sharif, objected the inclusion of the letter so late in the proceedings. "Why was such an old letter not disclosed before?"

Most of the findings presented today were also mentioned in the joint investigation team (JIT) report presented to the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case last year and had led to the the apex court ordering the filing of references against Sharif, his children and former finance minister Ishaq Dar.

A NAB appeal to re-open the Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference was dismissed by a bench of the SC for being brought to malign the Sharif family while the extended deadline to decide on the rest of the references is soon approaching.

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