ISLAMABAD -  A two-member team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) will leave for the United Kingdom next week to collect evidence related to ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family’s Avenfield properties.

The NAB team has also been granted visas in this regard, The Nation has reliably learnt. 

Well-placed sources in the NAB said that two investigation officers — Sultan Nazir and Imran Dogar — have been issued UK visas and they will go to the UK next week for investigating the Avenfield case. The sources said that the NAB has also informed the UK anti-corruption agency about the bureau team’s visit and has sought a help in investigating the properties held by the Sharif family in the UK.

The sources said that the NAB team will also record statements of some important witnesses and collect the evidence against the Sharif family regarding the Avenfield corruption reference.

The sources claimed that the NAB team will also contact the main accused of Avenfiled properties, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz to record their statements during its stay in the UK.

While talking to the media after appearing before an accountability court in Islamabad on October 9, Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of the former PM Sharif, said that her brothers will themselves decide whether or not to appear before the court in three references filed against them by the NAB and she added that “they are living abroad and Pakistani laws do not apply on them”.

The sources said it was the first NAB investigation team that will be departing to the UK. Earlier, several media outlets had claimed that the NAB team had left for the UK to probe Sharifs’ properties.

Earlier, the NAB had written letters to the UK authorities under the mutual legal agreement seeking details of the Sharif family’s Avenfield flats 16, 16-A, 17, 17-A, Avenfield House, Park Lane, London etc.

The anti-graft body has filed four corruption references against the Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar related to their Avenfield properties, Azizia Steel Mills, Hill Metal Company and other companies that include Flagship Investments, Hartstone properties, Que Holdings, Quint Eaton Place 2, Quint Saloane, Quaint, Flagship Securities, Quint Gloucester Place, Quint Paddington, Flagship Developments, Alanna Services (BVI), Lankin SA (BVI), Chadron, Ansbacher, Coomber and Capital FZE, Dubai.

The accountability court Islamabad has indicted Sharif, his daughter Maryam and her husband Capt (r) Muhammad Safdar in three references, besides declaring his two sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz as absconders. 

Last week, the NAB Lahore recommended placing the names of Sharif’s sons Hasan and Hussain Nawaz on the ECL and it had sent a letter to its headquarters. It had requested that both Hassan and Hussain Nawaz were absconders in the Avenfield properties case, therefore, their names should be put on the ECL.

A NAB spokesperson told The Nation that the NAB investigators have applied for UK visas but he added that he was not aware of the status of visas.