Wednesday Jan 03, 2018
ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retired) Javed Iqbal on Tuesday took notice of allegations against Captain (retired) Safdar Awan for being biased in awarding contracts.
According to a notification issued by the apex anti-corruption organization, Safdar is accused of awarding contracts worth Rs 3 billion in noncompliance with the set rules and regulations.
The NAB chairman gave the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chapter of the federal organisation to commence a probe into the matter.
According to information received from sources earlier today, the Sharif family has decided to not cooperate with NAB in the Avenfield reference case.
Sources have quoted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif as saying that if NAB has any proof regarding the Sharifs’ ownership of the Avenfield apartments, then the anti-graft body should present it before the accountability court.
At this point, sources added, Nawaz believes it would not be right for him, his daughter, Maryam, and her husband Captain (retd) Safdar to record any statements with NAB.
A team of NAB visited London earlier, after which they issued a notice to the Sharif family asking them to appear before the court. The notice also stated that further information will be sought from Nawaz, his daughter and son-in-law.
Earlier today, Nawaz and his family members reached the accountability court to be present at the hearing on three references, which pertained to Al-Azizia Steel Mills, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Limited and London’s Avenfield apartments.
After the hearing, Nawaz spoke to the media expressing disappointment at the ‘futile attempts’ to drag him into court cases.
NAB, in total, filed three references against the Sharif family and another against the then-finance minister Ishaq Dar in the accountability court, in light of the Supreme Court's orders in the Panama Papers case verdict of July 28.
The anti-graft body was given six weeks, from the date of the apex court's order, to file the reference in an accountability court while the accountability court was granted six months to wrap up the proceedings.
The corruption references against the Sharif family pertain to the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, their London properties, and over dozen offshore companies allegedly owned by the family.
Maryam and Safdar are only nominated in the London properties reference. At an earlier hearing, the court also approved Maryam and Safdar's bail in the Avenfield properties case and ordered them to submit surety bonds worth Rs5 million each.
Safdar was also directed to take the court's permission before leaving the country from now on. The judge also provided a copy of the reference — spread over 53 volumes — to Maryam and Safdar.
NAB's Rawalpindi branch prepared two references regarding the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, and the nearly dozen companies owned by the Sharif family.
Its Lahore branch prepared a reference on the Sharif family's Avenfield apartments in London and another against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for owning assets beyond his known sources of income.
If convicted, the accused may face up to 14 years imprisonment and lifelong disqualification from holding public office including the freezing of bank accounts and assets.