NAB completes final arguments in last reference against Nawaz

Updated 19 Dec 2018

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Court allows former PM Nawaz Sharif's counsel to file rebuttal in Flagship Investment case today. — File photo
Court allows former PM Nawaz Sharif's counsel to file rebuttal in Flagship Investment case today. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: The defence counsel for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Flagship Investment reference on Tuesday sought some time from the accountability court for a rebuttal after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor completed his final arguments in the last reference against the supreme leader of the main opposition party.

Winding up the arguments, the NAB prosecutor informed the court that Mr Sharif had been receiving AED10,000 from Capital FZE between 2006 and 2013. He said the Sharif family was given the first opportunity in the Supreme Court to explain holding of their property. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted by the SC in the Panama Papers case was the second forum where they could justify their assets whereas another chance was given to them by the investigation officer when he summoned them before the filing of application. The family could not justify their assets despite being given multiple opportunities, he added.

The prosecutor said the Sharif family took plea before the apex court that while they were in exile, Mian Mohammad Sharif, the ex-PM’s father who passed away in 2004, managed AED5.4 million for Hussain Nawaz and AED4.2 million for Hassan Nawaz so that they could establish their businesses in the UK and Saudi Arabia.

About money trail, the Sharif family explained that it was taken out of the AED12 million that the late Mian Sharif had invested with the Qatari royal family, the prosecutor said, adding that Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani never appeared before the JIT to verify the details.

Court allows defence counsel to file rebuttal in Flagship Investment case today

In his final arguments, the counsel for Mr Nawaz, Khawaja Haris Ahmed, said the JIT did not make any serious effort to record the testimony of the Qatari prince since it would have benefited the defence case.

Advocate Haris took the plea that the late Mian Sharif established Gulf Steel Mills (GSM) in the UAE in 1974. Its 75 per cent shares were sold to Abdullah Kayed Ahli before it was renamed as Ahli Steel Mills (ASM) in 1978 and the remaining 25pc shares were later sold to the ASM in 1980 and this amount of AED12 million was invested with the Qatari Royal family, he explained.

The prosecutor argued that these were private transactions according to the Sharif family as the amount was never routed through official channels. He said it was for this reason that the JIT did not rely upon the version of the Sharif family.

He further argued that the Sharifs were required to justify investment of AED5.4 million by Mr Hussain in Al-Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment and AED4.2 million by Mr Hassan in Flagship Investment and other companies but the family could not explain the investment.

According to the prosecution, Mr Sharif was the real owner of the companies established by his sons while both his children were benamidar.

After the prosecutor concluded his final arguments, defence counsel Khawaja Haris sought time to rebut the prosecution’s arguments.

Subsequently, the accountability court adjourned the proceedings till Wednesday when the hearing in the last reference against the former prime minister would resume.

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2018