–Khawaja Haris says NAB has shown no evidence that links former PM to sons’ business in London
ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer Khawaja Haris on Friday told the accountability court hearing the Al-Azizia and Flagship references that the Supreme Court’s decision to disqualify his client on the grounds that he was not Sadiq (truthful) and Ameen (trustworthy) was not relevant to the proceedings being held in the trial court.
When the hearing of the Flagship Investments reference resumed on Friday, Haris argued over Accountability Judge Arshad Malik’s question about his client’s credentials as “truthful” and “trustworthy”.
On Thursday, the judge said the apex court had declared that the former premier was not honest and trustworthy, therefore, his counsel should satisfy the court regarding it.
At the outset of the hearing on Friday, Haris said that the SC’s observations about Nawaz were not related to the proceedings in the trial court.
Haris said the charge-sheet against his client alleged that Nawaz had made benami properties in the names of his sons, while at the time of the Flagship Investments, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz were adults.
He said the charge-sheet said that Hassan Nawaz was dependent on his father from 1989 to 1994, adding that it also said that from 1995 to 1999, Hassan Nawaz had no source of income.
“Even the indictment is not saying that Hassan Nawaz was dependent on his father. The establishment of companies and Nawaz Sharif’s affiliation has a gap of five years,” the counsel argued, adding that there was no evidence that the former PM had any major association with the company.
“Only the investigation officer has claimed that Nawaz Sharif was the owner of Flagship Investments,” he said.
Haris again stressed on three points of his arguments in this case as he did in Al-Azizia reference. He said his arguments with regard to Benamidar, JIT and mutual legal assistance (MLA) will remain the same. He requested the court to make these points a part of his arguments in the Flagship reference.
HASSAN NAWAZ’S LONDON PROPERTIES:
During the hearing of the Al-Azizia reference, Haris presented documents pertaining to Hassan Nawaz’s properties in London that he had obtained from the London Land Registry Department.
“We have retrieved documents of three companies and we will bring other documents soon,” Haris told Judge Malik.
“Hassan Nawaz deals in sale and purchase of properties in London,” claimed Haris as he asked the court to return the documents after inspection for attestation.
“We will submit the documents in the court once they are all authorised,” he said.
Consequently, the court returned the documents to the defendants after a thorough examination.
The hearing was then adjourned till Monday.
In Thursday’s hearing, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi claimed that the report submitted by the joint investigation team cannot be labelled as an investigation report.
Coming down hard on Nawaz, Abbasi said, “In his addresses, Nawaz Sharif declared that he has uncountable proofs, then where are those solid proofs? If he will not present them before the court then where will he present them?”
“Despite several provided opportunities, Hussain Nawaz never appeared before accountability court, he is the one who has his father’s property in his name, a trial is underway against him under Section 5 of the Criminal Procedure Code.”
“NAB has proved their case, it was the basic responsibility of the offenders in the case to present sources of their assets,” Muzaffar had added.
Nonetheless, Judge Malik had remarked, “The four elements that Khawaja Haris mentioned are related to civil cases. In civil cases, the true owner keeps original records with himself in order to prove his ownership.”
“However, things are quite different in this case as the offender [ Nawaz Sharif] possesses properties in someone else’ name, attempting to hide his name from the properties ownership tag.”