Avenfield corruption reference: NAB approaches IHC against accountability court order

Avenfield corruption reference

2018-01-11T02:32:51+05:00 Shahid Rao

ISLAMABAD -  The National Accountability Bureau on Wednesday approached the Islamabad High Court against the November 8 order of an Accountability Court wherein it had deleted the charge of producing forged document, from the charge sheets of Maryam Nawaz and Captain (retired) Safdar in corruption reference.

The NAB moved the petition through its prosecutor, and nominated Accountability Court Islamabad No 1 judge, Maryam Nawaz and Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar as respondents.

The order was given on November 8, 2017, when the AC accepted the arguments of Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervez who had contended that Section 30 of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) prohibit the court from taking cognizance of the offences relating to false evidence etc before making decision of the case.

The petitioner in its petition said that in compliance to the Supreme Court orders dated July 28, 2017, the bureau had filed corruption reference against Sharif family for acquiring expensive properties in London through off-shore companies Nielson and Nescol Enterprises.

It added that on October 19, 2017, the AC judge Muhammad Bashir framed charges against the accused Mian Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain (retired) Safdar under the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO)’s schedule at serial 3(a) to which the accused pleaded non-guilty.

The NAB continued that on November 8, 2017, the AC judge deleted the charge framed under serial number 3(a) of the schedule of NAO at the application of Maryam Nawaz and Captain (retired) Safdar and recorded fresh plea of the accused.

According to the petitioner, the said order was passed by the AC in an arbitrary manner and faulty interpretation of the applicable laws.

It contended that Section 30 should be interpreted as permissive and empowering provision, and not that prohibitory.

The bureau said that the Section 30 was devoid of negative language and clearly conferred additional powers upon a court to take cognizance of the offences of the aforementioned nature.

The NAB argued that that the order was based upon unjustifiable reasoning.

Furthermore, Section 30 of the NAO and serial number 3(a) of its schedule are two separate sections meant entirely for two different situations and cannot be invoked as alternatives to each other.

It maintained that a trial court is bound to frame charges against an accused under Section 3(a) in case of false evidence, whereas Section 30 is only a discretionary power that lied with the court.

Therefore, the bureau prayed to the court to set aside the AC order and Maryam Nawaz and Captain (retired) Safdar may be charged with serial 3(a) of the schedule of the NAO.

Maryam Nawaz in the Avenfield apartments corruption reference has been facing the charge of producing an alleged forged trust deed before the Supreme Court of Pakistan that was scripted in Calibri font and as per the joint investigation team (JIT) report Calibri font was not in the market in 2006 at the time when the trust deed was prepared, and hence it was forged.

As per allegations, the trust deed related to Avenfield London apartments was also signed by Captain (retired) Safdar as witness.


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