ISLAMABAD: Accountability court on Monday sentenced ex Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to 7 years in jail & $25 Million fine in corruption reference of Al-Azizia Steel Mills, while declaring him innocent in the Flagship Investment reference.
Accountability Court II Judge Arshad Malik declared the decision in the references against the Sharif family, after reserving the decision last week.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had closed its last contentions in the Flagship reference against Nawaz on Tuesday – the third and last reference against the PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif. The Anti-Corruption watchdog had wrapped up its contentions in the Al-Azizia reference prior this month.
On Friday, the court had acknowledged the demand of Nawaz’s advice to present extra archives in the Flagship Investment reference and rejected NAB’s reservations.
On December 7, the Supreme Court had guided the responsibility court to finish up the cases by December 24, after beforehand allowing it seven expansions to wrap up the references started by NAB.
Security on high alert
Security around the Judicial Complex in Islamabad has been tightened ahead of the verdict.
According to Islamabad administration, a thousand police officials and one hundred Rangers have been deployed around the accountability court. All passageways leading to the accountability court have been sealed.
Section 144 has been imposed to maintain law and order in the federal capital.
Only 15 people will be allowed in the courtroom including PML-N leaders and lawyers. Media personnel have been asked to carry an ID with them. Only five reporters have been allowed inside the courtroom.
The trial against the Sharif family (PMLN) commenced on Sep 14, 2017.
On July 6, after four extensions in the original six-month deadline to conclude all three cases, the accountability court announced its verdict in the Avenfield reference. Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar were sentenced to 11 years, eight years and one year, respectively, in prison.
Nawaz and Maryam were released from jail on Sep 19 after the Islamabad High Court suspended their sentences in the Avenfield case.
Nawaz & his sons, Hassan and Hussain, are accused in all three references, whereas Maryam and Safdar were accused in the Avenfield reference only.
Both brothers living abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.
Flagship Investment Limited
The charge against the family is that Hassan Nawaz Sharif, the ex premier’s youngest son, set up an investment firm in 2001, with an office registered in the UK (United Kingdom). At the time he was 25-years-old.
Nawaz has never accepted any connectivity with his son’s business, although the Bureau alleges that his name was listed as chairman of the board, more adding that Hasan Nawaz was under the guardianship of his father till 1995.
Earlier this month, throughout a hearing, the NAB stated that Nawaz Sharif even received an amount of 0.78 million AED from the investment firm that he claims to have no stake in.
The accountability court had to determine how and from where did Hasan get the funds to set up the investment firm.
Al-Azizia Steel Mills
Hussain Nawaz, the ex prime minister’s elder son, asserts that he got an entirety of $5.4 million from his granddad to build up the steel conglomerate in Saudi Arabia. The payment was made by a Qatari royal on the request of the elder Sharif. After that, scrap machinery was transported from their Ahli Steel Mills in Dubai to Jeddah to establish Al-Azizia in 2001.
The JIT comprised to examine the unite claims demanded that the genuine proprietor of the plants was Nawaz Sharif, and it was being worked by his child for his benefit. Hussain was 29-years of age at the time. The JIT likewise held that Nawaz Sharif got 97 percent benefit as ‘blessings’ from Hill Metals Establishment, another organization built up by Hussain Nawaz Sharif in 2005, in Saudi Arabia.
Of the amount, Nawaz Sharif exchanged 77 percent to his girl, Maryam Nawaz Sharif. (Maryam isn’t charged in this reference). Here also, the NAB claims that since Sharif got a substantial benefit from Hussain’s organizations, he is the genuine proprietor and not his child. Nonetheless, amid the procedures the NAB couldn’t substantiate its case through narrative confirmations and rather set the weight of verification on the charged.