The prosecution of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Friday concluded their final arguments in the Avenfield properties reference against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar.
Concluding the arguments, the additional deputy prosecutor general of NAB, Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi, claimed that the prosecution has proved that Nawaz Sharif is the actual owner of four apartments in Avenfield House, Park Lane, London, while he acquired these properties in the name of his children.
Abbasi also read out excerpts from the speeches of Sharif and his sons, Hussain and Hassan Nawaz.
The NAB prosecutor argued that the Sharif family never claimed that the apartments were acquired via Qatari investment and insisted that they purchased these through “legitimate financial resources”, adding that they [Sharif family], however, never disclosed these resources to the Supreme Court or this trial court.
“We have established our case and it is up to the accused persons to prove their innocence,” he added.
The prosecutor then referred to the forensic report of Robert William Radley and said that the forensic expert has testified that trust deeds related to the offshore companies were not genuine.
Regarding objections raised by the defence counsel of the Sharif family, Abbasi said that their objection that the correspondence for acquiring the report was done mysteriously.
It may be mentioned that during the cross-examination, Wajid Zia informed the accountability court that the JIT “utilised the services of Brigadier Noman Saeed [of ISI] to deliver the relevant material to Robert W Radley.”
Clarifying his meeting with Radley ahead of latter’s testimony, Abbasi said that he went to the UK with the permission of the accountability court.
The defence counsel also objected that Abbasi met the witness in order to manipulate the testimony, however, the prosecutor argued before the accountability court that since the forensic expert was unaware how Pakistani courts proceed, therefore, he held a meeting with the Radley before his testimony.
Abbasi then addressed the accountability judge Mohammad Bashir and said that “even you have asked me to advise Wajid Zia how to record the statement” to ensure that he should not go out of track.
In response to the defence’s stance that the prosecution did not produce even a single direct evidence to prove that Sharif ever owned the London properties, Abbasi said that this was not the case against him.
“Our case was simple, these benami properties belong to the accused,” he argued.
According to Abbasi, the accused persons did not produce anything in their defence despite the fact that the burden of proof was on them.
After concluding the arguments, the prosecutor insisted the court that the defence counsel may be asked to advance final arguments leading the court to conclude the trial proceeding in Avenfield reference.
The defence counsel Saad Hashmi apprised the court that since the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has admitted the petition against the final arguments, therefore, the defence side may not be asked for final arguments.
NAB’s prosecutor Abbasi said that IHC did not issue any restraining order. This came as a surprise to advocate Hashmi, as he responded that being a petitioner he did not know whether IHC issued the stay order or not. But the NAB prosecutor who has not even attended the IHC’s hearing was somehow aware of the order which is still in the chamber of the IHC’s judge, as he has not signed it yet.
Subsequently, the court adjourned for Monday, June 11.