Nawaz sentenced to 10 years, Maryam seven years in Avenfield reference
July 6, 2018
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – Accountability Court Judge Bashir Ahmed sentenced Nawaz Sharif to 10 years and Maryam Nawaz seven-year jail term in the Avenfield reference case. The court also fined Nawaz Sharif eight million pounds and Maryam Nawaz two million pounds. Captain (retd) Safdar has been sentenced one year for abetting the crime. Meanwhile, perpetual warrants of Nawaz Sharif's sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz have been issued. Maryam Nawaz and Captain (retd) Safdar have been disqualified from contesting the elections. Nawaz Sharif has been sentenced under section 9 A of the NAB Ordinance, while Maryam has been convicted under section 9A(12) for abetting the crime. According to the written verdict, the accused have been sentenced for possessing nameless property and having assets disproportionate to income. However, the prosecution failed to prove corruption and provide evidence of corrupt practices. The verdict says Maryam Nawaz played a key role in concealing the assets of her father. The verdict states that the trust deeds submitted by Maryam Nawaz was fake. The accused never stated in their interviews that bearer shares were gained from the investment with the Qatari Royal family. After the court verdict, the NAB prosecutor congratulated the nation and said it is just a beginning. Sources said that Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz heard the verdict in Avenfield reference. Former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Nawaz Sharif's daughter Asma Nawaz were also present. Earlier explaining the delay in announcing the verdict, judge said that the photocopies of verdict taking time. Judgment was earlier set to be read out at 3:30pm, 3pm, 2:30pm, 12:30pm. Nawaz, Maryam heard the verdict at Avenfield apartments in London. Earlier today, the court dismissed Nawaz Sharifs’ plea to postpone the Avenfield reference verdict for a few days. During the hearing, Nawaz Sharif's lawyer requested the court that the verdict may be delayed for seven days. At this, the NAB prosecutor requested the court that the petition seeking postponement of the Avenfield reference verdict should be rejected. Judge Bashir rejected Nawaz Sharif's petition and remarked that the verdict of Avenfield reference would be announced today at 11am. The court had reserved its judgement in the Avenfield reference on Tuesday, declaring that the verdict will be announced on July 6 (today). The court also ordered all accused to ensure their presence in court when the verdict is read out. The court had issued notices to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar for July 6. However, Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz, who are in London in connection with serious health condition of Kulsoom Nawaz, have requested the court to delay the judgment for few days. Meanwhile, Nawaz and his family are facing three corruption cases in the accountability court after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed references against them in light of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case last year. Maryam also stated that she is willing to go to prison to pay the price of the path she has taken. During the course of the trial, spread over 107 hearings, a total of 18 prosecution witnesses recorded their statements, including the Panama case joint investigation team (JIT) head, Federal Investigation Agency's Wajid Zia. The apex court had directed the trial court to conclude the cases in six months. However, the court has only concluded proceedings of the Avenfield reference despite two deadline extensions — the latest one being July 10. The other two corruption references — Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment and offshore companies including Flagship Investment Limited — have yet to conclude.