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NAB summoned Nawaz Sharif in two supplementary references

10 February, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has summoned former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday to record his statement in two supplementary references on Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship investments which are to be filed soon in the accountability court of Islamabad.

According to NAB, Mr Sharif has been summoned by the Rawalpindi NAB headquarters, which is now headed by Irfan Mangi, a member of the Panama Papers leaks Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed by the Supreme Court to probe corruption allegations against the Sharif family.

A source in NAB told Dawn that Mr Mangi wanted to fulfil a legal requirement to get Mr Sharif acquainted with the evidence they had collected for supplementary references.

However, it is not likely that Mr Sharif will turn up at the Rawalpindi NAB office, as he had chosen to stay away when he was last summoned by the Lahore NAB regional headquarters a few weeks ago to record his statements on a supplementary reference on the Avenfield Properties.

The bureau has also said that two supplementary references, which are to be filed next week, will carry the script of an interview given by Hussain Nawaz, Mr Sharif’s son, to a private TV channel. When NAB had contacted the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to retrieve its record, the authority regretted that they did not keep records for more than 90 days. NAB, however, decided to make the Pemra’s record a part of a supplementary reference.

Mr Sharif and his family have been facing three corruption references in the accountability court — Avenfield Properties, Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investments — in which they are accused of money laundering, tax evasion and hiding offshore assets. A supplementary reference pertaining to their Avenfield Properties has already been filed.

The soured relations between the Punjab government and NAB first came to the fore when the bureau’s chief complained about the lack of cooperation it had received from the provincial government. The allegation was contested by the government.

NAB chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal on Thursday accused the Punjab government of not providing them access to the records of 56 public limited companies.

However, an official spokesman said on Friday that all the provincial departments were fully cooperating with NAB.

He said the NAB chairman should not have issued a statement against a provincial government at a public platform. If at all there was any issue the NAB officials should have contacted the government.

But NAB asserted that it had written four letters to the Punjab government requesting access to relevant records, as well as made several verbal requests.

“The NAB issued a press release on Jan 23, 2018 after receiving reports of non-provision of records from Punjab government and expressed displeasure…and asked the chief secretary of Punjab to provide the records,” a NAB spokesperson said. He said on Feb 8, the NAB chairman took notice and asked Punjab’s bureaucracy to provide them the relevant records and abide by the laws.

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