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NAB to chart future course on Avenfield properties case against Sharifs

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Avenfield properties case against Sharifs

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court hearing the Avenfield properties reference against former premier Nawaz Sharif and his family is expected to chalk out the future course of proceedings today after the last prosecution witness concluded his testimony yesterday.

Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir is hearing the Avenfield properties reference, related to the Sharifs’ London flats, against Nawaz, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar.

The accused have been granted exemption from appearing in court today.

As the hearing went under way, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi failed to appear in court.

NAB Prosecutor Afzal Qureshi informed the court that Abbasi is holding a meeting with the prosecutor general after which he will present the prosecution’s stand in the case.

Qureshi then requested the judge to briefly adjourn the hearing after which the court went into recess for a short while.

On Monday, NAB investigation officer Imran Dogar, the last prosecution witness, was cross-examined by Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervez.

During his cross-examination, Dogar informed the court of NAB’s procedure of inquiries and investigations, as well as lodging of references in court.

Dogar stated that he had no role in the work of the Panama Papers case Joint Investigation Team.

As the hearing concluded, the prosecutor said he will give a statement in court tomorrow on the conclusion of arguments and presentation of evidence.

Nawaz and his family are facing three corruption cases in the accountability court after the NAB filed references against them in light of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case.

The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14, 2017 with a six-month deadline.

The corruption references, filed against the Sharifs, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.

Nawaz and sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only.

The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.

The court originally had a deadline of six months which ended in mid-March but was extended for two months after the judge requested the apex court.

NAB had earlier filed interim references in all three cases and later added supplementary references to them with new evidence and witnesses.

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