Nawaz ‘beneficial owner’ of Al-Azizia, HME

IO says 88 per cent of claimed net profits of HME remitted to Sharif’s personal accounts

Rizwan Shehzad September 27, 2018
Nawaz Sharif arrives at Jati Umra. PHOTO: PML-N

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) investigation officer (IO) in the Al-Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment (HME) reference informed an accountability court on Thursday that the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is the actual beneficial owner of assets – Azizia & HME.

Recording his statement before the Accountability Court Judge Arshad Malik, NAB investigator Mehboob Alam said remittance from the companies to the tune of Euro 1.2million and US dollar 10.2million were converted and credited to accounts of the former PM apart from the balances available in his accounts.

Alam said on the basis of Aldar Audit Bureau statement, it is established that 88 per cent of the claimed net profits of HME were remitted to the personal accounts of Sharif directly from HME or through the accounts of his son, Hussain.

He added that remittance to the extent of Rs59.256 million were remitted to the accounts of Sharif’s daughter, Maryam.

Meanwhile, counsels for Sharif – Khawaja Haris, Ayesha Hamid and Zubair Khalid – continued raising objections to the testimony of the last prosecution witness in the Azizia & HME reference.

The counsels said neither the investigation officer was neither the scribe nor the executor of the documents he submitted as evidence against Sharif.

Also, as per the objections, the evidence produced was contradictory to the Qanun-e-Shahdat (law of evidence) and the documents were inadmissible evidence. Throughout the statement objections were raised and recorded.

In the statement, Alam said money to the extent of GBP 1.5 million was remitted to Sharif’s son Hassan through Hussain, adding that Hassan had no independent sources of income and Sharif’s sons in the capacity of Benamidars and abettors ostensibly hold assets on behalf of and for the benefits of Sharif.

Nawaz ‘will stick to his narrative’

This, he said, was done to veil the actual sources and assets which in fact belong to and indirectly owned by the former premier. He said the assets are disproportionate to his known sources of income and the accused persons failed to reasonably account for the acquisition of the assets.

The defence team objected that this statement constitutes the opinion of an inference drawn by the IO which is the function of the court; hence, this is inadmissible as evidence.

They said neither the IO is a scribe, signatory, recipient, addressee of several documents produced before the court nor have any of the persons who may have done the same been cited as witnesses.

Similar objections were raised on transcripts and CD pertaining to TV interviews of Hussain. They said the witness through whom the prosecution wants to get several documents exhibited has neither prepared the documents nor have the documents been prepared under his supervision.

They said the prosecution cannot be allowed to place on record for purposes of being read in evidence any document otherwise than in accordance with law.

During the statement, IO narrated how the witnesses in the reference appeared before him and produced several documents that were being used as evidence against Shairf and his sons.

Meanwhile, Sharif appeared before the court for the first time after being released on bail following an order of the Islamabad High Court on his petition seeking suspension of his sentence in the Avenfield Apartments reference. He sat for roughly 90 minutes and later left with court’s permission.

The NAB investigation officer will continue his statement on Friday (today). After his statement, he will be cross examined in the case by defence counsel.

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