NAB executive board approves reference against Sharif brothers in Raiwind road case


Islamabad, Dec. 27 (TNS): In a major development, the National Accountability Bureau’s executive board on Wednesday approved the filing of a reference against deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif.

The reference pertains to the alleged illegal construction of a two-way road from Raiwind to the Sharif family home in the year 2000.

The decision was taken in a meeting of the accountability watchdog’s executive board meeting, chaired by NAB Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal.

The board also approved an investigation in relation to the Nandipur power project in which former minister Babar Awan, former minister for water and power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and others are included for allegedly causing a delay in the project, due to which the national exchequer incurred a loss of Rs113 billion.

The accountability watchdog is already pursuing three other references against the Sharif family after the apex court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case.

The NAB has in total filed three references against the Sharif family and another against former finance minister Ishaq Dar in the accountability court, in light of the Supreme Court’s orders in the Panama Papers case verdict of July 28.

The anti-graft body was given six weeks, from the date of the apex court’s order, to file the reference in an accountability court while the accountability court was granted six months to wrap up the proceedings.

The references against the Sharif family pertain to the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, their London properties, and over dozen offshore companies allegedly owned by the family.

Maryam and Safdar are only nominated in the London properties reference. At an earlier hearing, the court also approved Maryam and Safdar’s bail in the Avenfield properties case and ordered them to submit surety bonds worth Rs5 million each.

Safdar was also directed to take the court’s permission before leaving the country from now on. The judge also provided a copy of the reference — spread over 53 volumes — to Maryam and Safdar.

NAB’s Rawalpindi branch prepared two references regarding the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, and the nearly dozen companies owned by the Sharif family.

Its Lahore branch prepared a reference on the Sharif family’s Avenfield apartments in London and another against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for owning assets beyond his known sources of income.

If convicted, the accused may face up to 14 years imprisonment and lifelong disqualification from holding public office including the freezing of bank accounts and assets.