ISLAMBAD/Lahore - NBP President Saeed Ahmed and Javed Kayani yesterday appeared before a NAB team in Lahore and recorded their statements, as the anti-graft body is preparing corruption references against ex-PM Nawaz Sharif, his family, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and others.

On the other hand, sources told The Nation that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) may not serve further notices to Sharif family for recording their statements and file the cases on the basis of JIT report.

Bureau’s spokesperson Asim Ali Nawazish yesterday rejected media reports that NAB had sought putting names of Sharifs on Exit Control List but sources in Lahore Directorate said the move was on and they were working on it.

A report carried by a news website claimed that National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President Saeed Ahmed and Javed Kayani , who is a friend of Nawaz Sharif, were offered to become approvers against Sharifs and Ishaq Dar.

Quoting bureau sources, it said a team headed by NAB Lahore DG was carrying out the investigation, and the offer was made to ease the process of filing references and undertaking convictions.

The duo was assured that no action will be taken against them, but they were yet to accept or reject the offer.

Sources told The Nation that the combined investigation team of NAB questioned Saeed for hours in connection with Hudaibiya Paper Mills case, while Kayani was quizzed for his alleged involvement in Hudaibiya case, Al-Taufeeq case and money laundering for purchase of the Avenfield flats.

Kayani had admitted before the SC-appointed Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that he opened fake accounts on the instructions of Nawaz Sharif’s friend Sheikh Saeed .

NAB sources claim that he was involved in laundering money for the ex-PM and helped in transferring millions of rupees to foreign banks through fake accounts to purchase Avenfield apartments in 1992, 93 and 94.

Saeed Ahmed had also been summoned by JIT but he had denied any knowledge of such accounts in his name as were linked with laundering money.

Incumbent Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s ‘confessional’ statement had brought Saeed’s name into limelight after the Musharraf coup in 1998, when Dar declared him a “close friend” and claimed that his accounts had been used to launder money for the Sharif family.

NAB has also summoned Dar on Tuesday (today) to appear and get his statement recoded with the NAB .

Sources claimed that the NAB investigators have also contacted the Saudi Arabia government with the request to provide the data of Azazia Steel Mills. They claimed that Saudi government has indicated that it would consider the NAB request.

They said national anti-graft agency has also written a letter to National Crime Agency (NCA) of United Kingdom for cooperation in the investigations of Sharifs London flats case.

‘No more notices’

Well-placed sources told The Nation that NAB team was pondering if it should issue any more notice to Sharifs or file the references against them in the light of evidence collected by JIT.

The investigation team had summoned Nawaz Sharif, his sons Hussain and Hassan on August 18th in Al-Azazia Mills case. It had also summoned Maryam Nawaz and her husband Capt (r) Safdar on August 20 in connection to the London flats reference.

This was the second time that the Sharifs did not show up.

The sources said it is the Combined Investigation Team’s jurisdiction to issue further summons to Sharif family members or proceed without it.

The team has been given six-week deadline by the apex court and they could therefore file references in Accountability Courts without recording the statements of Sharif family, they added.

Another official however said the NAB would issue a third notice to the Sharifs and if they ignored it too, the team would submit its report to the apex court.

NAB spokesperson Asim Ali Nawazish in his media interaction avoided commenting on issuance of further notices to Sharif family.

Commenting on the possibility of their arrest for non-compliance, yet another NAB officer said there would be no action against Sharifs under section 31A of the NAB Ordinance 1999 if they don’t appear again.

The officer said under Section 31A if someone does not comply with the NAB summons one could be sentenced for three years in jail. But in the past the Supreme Court had set aside such punishments given in trial in absentia, he added.

Another officer said that it is in the powers of the NAB chairman to issue orders for arrest of an accused even during his investigation. But in that case, NAB was bound to file reference within 90 days of the arrest, he added.

ECL issue

NAB spokesman yesterday rejected media reports claiming that NAB Lahore Director General Shahzad Saleem had written to the interior ministry to put the names of Nawaz Sahrif, his wife and children on ECL. Asim said that the DG had not even requested NAB acting chairman to contact the ministry in this regard.

Talking to The Nation, an ex-DG of NAB said that no DG of regional offices can request the interior ministry on their own to put the names of accused on ECL. He said he can only recommend the Nab headquarter to move names of accused for placing their names on ECL.

But sources in Lahore Bureau told The Nation that the process had been started to put the names of Sharifs on ECL,

A NAB official seeking anonymity said that putting names on ECL could take weeks as the process had been made too complicated during the tenure of Ch Nisar Ali Khan as interior minister. There is a Performa comprising three pages to be filled and a solid justification is sought by the ministry from the recommending agency, he added.

Initially names of Nawaz Sharif, Kulsoom Nawaz Maryam Nawaz and Ishaq Dar would be recommended to be put on ECL since Hassan Nawaz and Husain Nawaz were already out of country, the source said.

Another officer said it would not be easy to put their names on ECL as their party was in power. It could only be done on the orders of Supreme Court.

Sources told The Nation that the combined investigation team of NAB questioned Saeed for hours in connection with Hudaibiya Paper Mills case, while Kayani was quizzed for his alleged involvement in Hudaibiya case, Al-Taufeeq case and money laundering for purchase of the Avenfield flats.

Kayani had admitted before the SC-appointed Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that he opened fake accounts on the instructions of Nawaz Sharif’s friend Sheikh Saeed .

NAB sources claim that he was involved in laundering money for the ex-PM and helped in transferring millions of rupees to foreign banks through fake accounts to purchase Avenfield apartments in 1992, 93 and 94.

Saeed Ahmed had also been summoned by JIT but he had denied any knowledge of such accounts in his name as were linked with laundering money.

Incumbent Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s ‘confessional’ statement had brought Saeed’s name into limelight after the Musharraf coup in 1998, when Dar declared him a “close friend” and claimed that his accounts had been used to launder money for the Sharif family.

NAB has also summoned Dar on Tuesday (today) to appear and get his statement recoded with the NAB .

Sources claimed that the NAB investigators have also contacted the Saudi Arabia government with the request to provide the data of Azazia Steel Mills. They claimed that Saudi government has indicated that it would consider the NAB request.

They said national anti-graft agency has also written a letter to National Crime Agency (NCA) of United Kingdom for cooperation in the investigations of Sharifs London flats case.