ISLAMABAD: The accountability court on Friday announced the verdict in the Avenfield properties corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), handing ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif 10 years as jail time for owning assets beyond income and 1 year for not cooperating with NAB. The sentences will run concurrently which means the former prime minister will serve 10 years in jail.
Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz was given 7 years for abetment, and 1 year for non-cooperation with the bureau — also to run concurrently; she will serve 7 years in total.
The court imposed 8 million pounds penalty on Nawaz Sharif and two million pounds fine on Maryam Nawaz. The money will go into the state treasury. Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law Mohammad Safdar was also awarded one year sentence.
Moreover, Nawaz’s sons Hassan and Hussain who have been absconding in the case were declared as “proclaimed offenders” and the court ordered non-bailable perpetual warrants of arrest agains them.
Nawaz Sharif has the right to challenge the verdict in the high court, legal experts said.
The court has also ruled that the Avenfield apartments of the Sharif family, in their possession since 1993, shall be seized by the federal government.
“Avenfield Apartments Nos 16, 16-a, 17 and 17-a stand forfeited to Federal Government within the meaning of 10(a) of NAO, 1999,” according to written verdict.
The Avenfield properties reference was one of three filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last year in light of the Supreme Court’s verdict against Nawaz in the Panama Papers case. The reference pertains to the ownership of the Sharif family’s apartments at Avenfield House, London.
Moreover, after the hearing, NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi said the accused have 10 days to file an appeal against the verdict.
In the written order of the court, the Supreme Court’s Panama Papers case verdict and work of the joint investigation team has been referred to, along with an interview of Nawaz’s son Hussain wherein he accepted ownership of the London properties.
Nawaz Sharif had requested the court to delay the verdict for a week until condition of his ailing wife is improved. However, the court rejected the plea.
A prosecution defense council Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi opposed Nawaz Sharif’s plea and told the court that the accused cannot file application for any relief at a stage when the court has concluded the trial and fixed a date for the final announcement.
Sharif and members of his family are also facing two other corruption cases in the accountability court that were filled following the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case last year.
Hundreds of police men and dozens of paramilitary troops were deployed outside the court building to maintain peace. Several leaders of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party were at the court when the judge delivered the verdict. NNI/Agencies