Corruption references against Sharifs: Accountability court suspends proceedings
RAWALPINDI, Sept 15: An accountability court on Saturday stopped its proceedings on three corruption references against PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and members of his family after their counsel submitted a restraining order of the Lahore High Court to it.
Judge Chaudhry Abdul Haq had taken up an application filed by the National Accountability Bureau seeking revival of three corruption references relating to Hudabiya Paper Mills, Ittefaq Foundries and Raiwind assets in which members of the Sharif family are allegedly involved.
Barrister Maqsooma Bokhari, representing the Sharif family, informed the court that a division bench of the LHC had in its order restrained the accountability court from proceeding till the matter was adjudicated by it.
In October last year, the LHC acting on a petition by the Sharifs had stopped the federal government from going ahead with the matter. The order, however, did not issue any such directive for the accountability court.
On July 28 this year, the accountability court summoned Mian Nawaz Sharif, Mohammad Abbas Sharif, Hussain Nawaz, Hamza Shahbaz, Shamim Akhtar (mother of Nawaz Sharif), Sabiha Abbas and Maryam Safdar.
On Sept 6, Khawaja Harris Ahmed, senior counsel for the Sharif family, submitted another application to the LHC division bench comprising Justice Khawaja Imtiaz Ahmed and Justice Shahid Hameed Dar against the trial court’s decision.
The lawyer informed the court that because of some clerical mistake the respondent No 3 (accountability court) was inadvertently typed as respondent No 1 (federal government) and this mistake escaped the notice of the court while signing the said order. The mistake could be corrected under Section 152 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC), he added.
On Saturday, the accountability court judge examined the LHC’s restraining order and adjourned the hearing on the NAB’s application till Sept 29.
The Sharif family’s counsel also submitted an application to the judge for examining the record of the references.
The NAB had prepared the references during the Musharraf regime in the year 2000 when the Sharif brothers were detained in the Attock Fort. On April 4, 2001, the references were adjourned sine die.
On Aug 8, 2007, the NAB filed an application for revival of the references. But the court did not proceed with the matter which was again adjourned sine die in Aug 2008 because it was not routed through the NAB chairman. Another application filed by the NAB in Feb 2010 was rejected on the same grounds.
In its references, the NAB accused the Sharifs of committing Rs642.743 million worth of corruption in the Paper Mills case.
The second reference – the state versus Nawaz Sharif, etc. – relates to the Raiwind assets. The main allegation is that the accused had acquired vast tracts of land upon which palatial houses and mansions were built with resources which appeared to be grossly disproportionate to their known sources of income. Apart from Nawaz Sharif, his mother is an accused in this case. In the state versus Ittefaq Foundries case, Nawaz Sharif, Abbas Sharif and Kamal Qureshi are accused of committing corruption of Rs1,063 million. The main allegation in the case is that Ittefaq Foundries Ltd obtained cash finance from the National Bank.
According to the NAB, the company wilfully defaulted on the amount in 1994.