LAHORE - A Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench on Thursday reserved its verdict on PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz’s bail petition in Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case, and will announce the decision on November 4.

During the arguments, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) representative opposed the civil miscellaneous application filed by Maryam Nawaz for her release on humanitarian grounds to look after her father.

NAB Additional Prosecutor General (APG) Jehanzaib Bharwana concluded arguments before the division bench consisting of Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem who reserved the verdict after hearing the arguments.

The official submitted that the application was not maintainable as there was no extra ordinary circumstances neither it was a case of hardship.  He argued that it was not a case of double jeopardy as the case was not a subject matter of joint investigation team (JIT) constituted by the Supreme Court in Panama case. The matter started on the basis of a Financial Monitoring Unit report wherein suspicious transactions in Chaudhry Sugar Mills accounts were reported in 2018, he added.

He contended that her assets increased rapidly during the 90’s and she possessed assets beyond her known sources of income. He submitted that Maryam Nawaz possessed 6 per cent shares of mills in 1995, which dropped to 4 per cent in 2001 but suddenly number of her shares reached 47 per cent in 2008. Maryam Nawaz failed to explain as to how these shares were accumulated, he added.

The prosecutor while referring to grounds of the arrest, submitted that the accused also failed to explain sources of Us$ 4.8 million received from Nasir Abdullah Lotha’s company in United Arab Emirates, besides money laundering of Rs 230 million. He submitted that the amounts were transferred from abroad in accounts of Yousaf Abass and Abdul Aziz Abass and finally it was transferred into accounts of the CSM, where petitioner was a shareholder and beneficiary.

 

 

Maryuam also received Rs 70 million from the amount transferred into the accounts of the CSM, he maintained.

He said that it was falsely shown that US$ 4.8 was received from sale of shares of the CSM. Nasir Abdullah Lotha had got recorded his statement before a judicial magistrate in Islamabad wherein he claimed that he did not purchase any shares of CSM nor sold them. However, Nasir had admitted that the amount was invested by the Sharif Family in his real estate business and the same was returned to them on demand, he added, besides questioning the sources of the investment amount.

Referring to various sections of Anti-Money laundering Act 2010, Bharwana argued that the NAB had been given powers to investigate the money laundering cases besides other agencies.

When asked, he told the court that money laundering was an aspect of the case whereas there was also allegations of corruption and corrupt practices against the accused and the accounts of the CSM was used for the purpose.

At this court, the court noted that although Nawaz Sharif’s name was mentioned in the suspicious transactions but Maryam Nawaz’s name did not appear in it. The APG then replied that Maryam had been accused of abetment in commission of offence. She was beneficiary in all assets whereas she also remained a director of the mills.

On the other side, the petitioner’s counsel Amjad Pervaiz pointed out that Maryam Nawaz did not have any shares in the sugar mills since 2016.

The bench remarked how the amount transferred to Yousaf Abbas from Nasir Abdullah Lotha could be linked with corruption.

The NAB official replied that the accused was bound to prove that the money was not obtained from corruption but so far, she had failed to give any satisfactory reply.

The bench questioned the prosecutor whether Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) held any inquiry  into the matter.

To which, the prosecution replied that the SECP was not bound to take action against corruption whereas the commission was  only bound to ensure implementations of the regulations.

He pleaded with the bench to dismiss the bail petition,  contending that the bureau had complete authority to  investigate the matter as per law.

Subsequently, the bench reserved its verdict which would be announced on November 4.