Court grills NAB on Maryam's link to Avenfield properties

Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Aamir Farooq asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) counsel to explain how Maryam Nawaz 'aided and abetted' her father Nawaz Sharif in acquiring the Avenfield properties in London in 1993 or 2006 when the trust deed was signed.

Justice Farooq also asked NAB special prosecutor Usman Cheema to prove through evidence that these properties were acquired by Nawaz Sharif in the 1990s.

He said that if the NAB could not prove the case against principle accused Nawaz Sharif then there would be no significance of the charges of aiding and abetting.

Justice Farooq also made it clear that any Supreme Court observation in the Panamagate judgment was not relevant to the decision regarding Maryam Nawaz's appeal against her conviction.

He said that the NAB has to prove whether the prosecution proved the case against Maryam before the accountability court.

He asked Cheema about the case against Maryam and her husband, whether NAB had investigated the matter and whether witnesses were called for investigation.

"We have to see how she helped acquire these properties," said Justice Farooq, further asking the NAB counsel how the apartments were acquired in 1993.

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IHC Judge Mohsin Akhtar Kayani said that the four charges against Maryam are fabrication, use of calibri font, misleading the agency and concealing the actual facts.

Justice Kayani noted that Maryam has not said that the property was her's, or that she owned it. "Minus the trust deed, you have no case," he added.

The prosecutor claimed that Maryam aided, abetted and assisted her father in acquiring the properties in 2006.

Justice Farooq asked the NAB about Nawaz Sharif's role in acquiring the properties.

He said that it was "basic criminal law" that the the prosecution must establish its case using evidence even if the accused has admitted of committing the crime.

The judge inquired what evidence the prosecution had to prove the case against Nawaz Sharif. "The prosecution has to establish the case beyond reasonable doubt," he said, adding that proceeding under Article 184(3) was of civil nature.

He inquired about the nexus between the two offshore companies and Nawaz Sharif, through documental evidence.

"Who made the payment to acquire the properties in 1993," the IHC judge asked, adding that "NAB has to prove that the payment to acquire these properties came from Nawaz Sharif."

The hearing of the case was adjourned until September 29.

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