–Detailed judgement says former PM acquitted due to insufficient evidence
ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was given “benefit of the doubt” in the Flagship Investments reference, according to the detailed verdict in the case released on Monday.
On December 24, when the court announced its verdict in the case, Accountability Judge Arshad Malik said that “he didn’t find anything against Nawaz Sharif in reference No 18 [Flagship Investment] and the accused is acquitted in this case”.
“Based on available evidence, it [the court] is inclined to extend the benefit of the doubt.”
On the other hand, in the Al-Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment (HME) case, Nawaz was given a seven-year prison sentence. The former premier is currently housed at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail.
However, the judge said that the possibility that Nawaz was the real beneficial owner of Flagship Investments Ltd “cannot be ruled out”.
The prosecution has to prove its case against the accused “beyond all reasonable doubts”, the detailed verdict said.
The verdict said Hassan and Hussain Nawaz “have already been declared as proclaimed offenders” and directed their “perpetual non-bailable” arrest warrants to be issued.
With regards to Nawaz having paid £705,071 to Hassan, the verdict read that the former may had paid via his “undeclared, secret wealth and assets held outside Pakistan” but that “there is insufficient evidence to safely reach the conclusion”.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last week decided to challenge Nawaz Sharif’s acquittal in Flagship Investments corruption reference.
The decision of filing an appeal against the accountability court’s decision was taken in a meeting presided over by NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal at the anti-graft agency’s headquarters in Islamabad. The meeting was attended by senior legal experts, concerned director generals and senior officials.
After detailed consultations, the meeting decided to challenge the accountability court’s verdict, while Justice (r) Iqbal directed the legal experts to challenge the court’s verdict.