LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has ordered the immediate sale of properties belonging to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and has issued a letter to the concerned deputy commissioners in this regard.
In the letter, Director-General of NAB’s Lahore office, Shahzad Saleem, stated that for the first time in the country’s history, the decision to recover fines from a former prime minister has been implemented.
The country’s accountability watchdog maintained that it had initiated proceedings to recover an £8 million fine — equivalent to Rs1.85 billion — from Nawaz Sharif in the Avenfield apartments case. Aside from the imposition of fines, in July 2018, an accountability court had sentenced Nawaz to ten years of imprisonment.
In the letter, the deputy commissioners have been apprised of all the details of Nawaz Sharif’s saleable properties, including bungalows situated at Lahore’s Upper Mall Road and agricultural lands in Sheikhupura and other areas.
The proceeds from the sale of properties would be used for the development of the country, the letter said, adding that if the full amount of the fine is not recovered, a search for further assets of the convict will be carried out.
Later, PML-N demanded to make public details of the recovery of Rs578 billion “ill-gotten money” by NAB.
Legal process started
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has initiated a legal process to recover the approximately Rs1.85 billion fine in the Avenfield apartments case from Nawaz Sharif by ordering immediate sale of his properties.
NAB Lahore Director General Shehzad Saleem on Tuesday sent a list of properties of the PML-N supremo to deputy commissioners of Lahore and Sheikhupura, where these properties were situated, with the directions to immediately sell them.
The anti-corruption watchdog, in a press release, called it a major recovery from a former premier in a corruption case in history and a response to the questions raised in political circles on its recoveries, while the PML-N claimed the action has been taken prematurely as the matter was sub judice.
Mr Sharif had been handed down a 10-year jail term along with a fine of eight million pounds (around Rs1.85bn) in the Avenfield apartments case.
Maryam Nawaz, a co-accused, had been handed down seven years in jail and fined two million pounds, while her husband, retired Capt Muhammad Safdar, awarded one-year imprisonment. Appeal of both these convicts is, however, pending adjudication with the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
The bureau claims that a similar appeal by Mr Sharif had been rejected by the IHC on June 23 for being an absconder. The appeals had been filed against the Islamabad accountability court judgement dated July 6, 2018.
Spokesperson Maryum Aurangzeb
Spokesperson Maryum Aurangzeb strongly criticised the media statement of the National Accountability Bureau, alleging that it was not a press release but a “nexus” between NAB and Prime Minister House.
She said that PML-N demands to publicise the details of NAB’s recovery of Rs578 billion ill-gotten money. Maryum also demanded to provide details of expenditures for the recovery of the looted money.
The PML-N spokesperson alleged that the press release was the part of levelling baseless allegations, propaganda and political agenda against the opponents of the government. She continued that the press statement was actually a request to extend the tenure of the NAB chairman.
Maryum said that Nawaz spent over 35 years in politics but nobody has proved the corruption allegations against him so far. She added that Nawaz gifted nuclear technology to the country besides initiating national projects of electricity, health, education and others.
Criticising the anti-corruption watchdog, she said that NAB has never noticed the alleged theft of sugar worth Rs800 billion and legalisation of Bani Gala palace nor Rs400 billion worth LNG theft and helicopter cases.
The PML-N spokesperson further alleged that Imran Khan had made NAB its frontman in the Broadsheet case while his aide Shahzad Akbar used to conduct press conferences against Shehbaz Sharif. She demanded to publicise all details of the Broadsheet case.
Maryum alleged that the ministers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led federal government used to attack the election commission in the name of electronic voting machines (EVMs). She continued that elections reforms were being finalised in a threatening tone.