–Govt to refer four new cases regarding Sharifs’ Frederick Close property in London, misuse of govt funds and authority to NAB for investigation
–Akbar says Nawaz Sharif failed to declare London property registered in Kulsoom’s name in his statements to ECP and parliament
–Says Nawaz spent Rs275m on Jati Umra residence while Shehbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz illegally spent Rs600m and Rs340m, respectively, on air travel
ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to refer four new cases regarding a London property belonging to the Sharif family as well as their misuse of government funds and authority to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for investigation.
The announcement in this regard was made by Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Accountability Shahzad Akbar and PM’s Media Adviser Iftikhar Durrani while addressing a press conference on Saturday.
Akbar also disclosed details of the alleged misuse of the PM’s plane by the brother and daughter of Nawaz Sharif.
Highlighting the importance of the media, the PM’s special assistant said that the news of a Sharif owned property was “revealed by the media as a media channel had broken the news of a property [Frederick Close] located in Central London, having a current value of 2.2 or 2.3 million pounds”.
He said that the property’s rental income and ownership documents from 2012 to 2016 had been available “but were put away in files”. These documents state that the Frederick Close apartment was under the name of the former premier’s late wife, Begum Kulsoom.
Shahzad Akbar regretted that the former premier, as a head of state and member of National Assembly (MNA), had failed to declare assets owned by his dependents, adding that there were two modes of undertaking this task, either by the wealth statement that every citizen is required to submit while declaring their spouse’s assets or by the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) forms that are submitted as a member of parliament.
He further pointed out that the premier, as an MNA, had also refrained from mentioning his wife’s London apartment in the annual declaration submitted in the National Assembly Secretariat.
While stating that the concealment of the newly discovered property would be dealt with as a new case of assets beyond known income, Akbar said that further investigation of other such possible assets should be carried out by NAB.
He also shared that a tax-related liability has been given to the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) as the case would be pursued by both the NAB and FBR.
Furthermore, Akbar said that the British government had been contacted in this regard.
“We have asked Britain for all these documents and they might come in a week or two. We will put all of that in front of you, what the whole trail of this was — until when this property was under the Sharif family and when they sold it and for how much,” he said.
He said that fresh details would give more insight into the matter; however, land registry documents reveal that the flat was transferred to Hassan Nawaz’s name in August 2016.
“The question comes up again which has remained the question in all the cases: where did these properties come from, what was their source of income, and what is their trail of money. When you don’t declare something and get caught, the first question is where did it come from, you have to declare a source of income for it,” he emphasised.
Moreover, Akbar said that Rs275m were spent on Nawaz’s Jati Umra residence out of national exchequer, Rs600m was spent on air travel by Shehbaz Sharif and Rs340m was spent illegally by Maryam on air travel sponsored by the government.
Addressing reporters, PM’s Media Adviser Durrani said the information shared by China about the Multan Metro Bus Project would be shared with the media soon.
The adviser said the incumbent government had introduced a comprehensive austerity drive in all the departments.
An accountability court in its verdict in the Avenfield properties corruption reference in July this year, had handed the ousted prime minister 10 years rigorous imprisonment for owning assets beyond known income and his daughter Maryam was given 7 years for abettment after she was found “instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father”. Sharif’s son-in-law Captain (r) Muhammad Safdar was given 1 year jail time.
NAB had filed the reference regarding the high-end properties in London, along with two others, on the Supreme Court’s directives in the landmark Panamagate verdict last year which deseated Nawaz as the prime minister.