Panamagate case: SC gets first progress report from NAB

Graft-buster set to file appeal against LHC order in Hudaibiya Paper Mills case within seven days


Our Correspondent September 15, 2017
Deposed PM Nawaz Shairf in a conversation with his brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif. PHOTO: REUTERS / FILE

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Friday submitted its first report regarding implementation on the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict on Panamagate case, sources told The Express Tribune.

The report is submitted to the monitoring judge, Justice Ijazul Ahsan. The report, according to the sources, provides status of the four references against deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his children, their summons and the next dates of hearing before accountability courts.

Simultaneously, NAB informed a five-judge larger bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, that it would file an appeal within seven days against a three-year old order of the Lahore High Court (LHC) that quashed the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case against the Sharif family members.

NAB chief refuses to challenge Hudabiya mills verdict

During hearing of a petition filed by Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed for challenging the LHC judgment, NAB Prosecutor-General Waqas Qadeer Dar said that the NAB chairman on Thursday approved filing of an appeal against the LHC judgment in the apex court.

“The requisite appeal shall be filed before this court within the next seven days without fail,” Dar said in an undertaking. In view of the statement and the information provided by the prosecutor-general, Rasheed decided not to press his petition.

Highlighting apparent lacunae in the acquittal of the Sharifs by the LHC in 2014, the Supreme Court has previously expressed wonder as to how a whopping sum of Rs1.2 billion was still “unaccounted for” and why NAB did not appeal.

The Hudaibiya Paper Mills case started 17 years ago, when NAB claimed that Sharif and his family received over Rs1 billion “through illegal and fraudulent means” and that they were liable to be tried under anti-corruption laws.

Why did NAB not appeal case?

According to the documents submitted by the accountability watchdog before the Supreme Court on Monday – a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune – Sharif, his father Mian Muhammad Sharif, brothers Shehbaz Sharif and Abbas Sharif, son Hussain Nawaz, daughter Maryam Nawaz, Shehbaz’s son Hamza and Abbas’s wife Sabiha were accused of receiving “ill-gotten money”.

“All the accused persons in collusion and in connivance with each other appear to have committed acts of corruption and corrupt practices as defined under Section 9 read with Section 10 of the NAB Ordinance,” NAB’s then chairman Khalid Maqbool had told an accountability court.

It is interesting to note that NAB had filed two references in the Hudaibiya case. Incumbent Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was nominated as an accused in the initial reference but NAB, in its final reference, excluded his name after he recorded a confession statement.

References against Sharifs: NAB wants to quiz JIT

“There was an unexplained investment of Rs642.743m appearing in books of the HPM as share deposit money. The same belonged to the directors/shareholders and beneficial owners of the company, which they had fraudulently amassed under the garb of foreign equity investment,” said the final reference.

It said the company in 1999 settled its loan with London-based Al-Towfeek Company for Investment Funds by making a payment of $8.7 million and the source of this payment also appeared to be doubtful.

“It appears from the evidence that in order to launder and conceal their ill-gotten wealth, both Sharif brothers appeared to have fraudulently opened fictitious foreign currency accounts in the names of various individuals with active connivance of some of their close associates and employees.

“The amounts that have been deposited in the said accounts stand unexplained and appear to be beyond the known source of income of the accused individuals,” it said.

Sending data on Dar to NAB costs NADRA officer his job

The final reference alleged that fraudulent accounts and deposits were used by the accused persons as collateral to obtain loans from various financial institutions. Same deposits were released, encashed and proceeds were used to adjust the financial facilities availed by various companies owned by the accused persons.

NAB has also submitted documents of another reference about alleged illegal construction of Raiwind estate, in which Sharif and his parents had been nominated as accused. The reference stated that the Federal Investigation Agency had investigated the illegal construction of houses at Raiwind and it was found that an area measuring 401 kanals was illegally acquired by Sharif and his mother. This land had been used for the construction of palatial mansions and other ancillary buildings.

The total income of the accused persons (Sharif family) during the year 1992-2000, it added, appeared to be Rs41.190 million but the total investment made by the accused persons for the construction of the buildings amounted to an estimated Rs247.357million.

 

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