Never involved in or associated with acquisition of properties in London: Sharif

Pakistan’s ousted premier Nawaz Sharif today denied ownership or any link with the purchase of properties in London as he recorded his statement before the accountability court here in a corruption case spiralling from the Panama Papers scandal.

The Avenfield case is one of the three cases filed against Sharif, 68, and his family following the July 28 verdict of the Supreme Court, which had disqualified him and ordered institution of cases.

Sharif, his daughter Maryam, sons Hassan and Hussain and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar are accused in the case that is based on allegation that the properties in London were bought in 1990s with the corruption money when Sharif twice served as premier.

The court last week ordered Sharif, Maryam and Safdar to record final statements in their defense after a 19 prosecution witness testified in the case. Hassan and Hussain were not called as they were already declared as absconders.

Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir had prepared a questionnaire of around 127 questions and handed it over to the counsel representing the Sharif family.

The former prime minister read the written answers while elaborating his positions in the case. He firmly denied that he was direct or indirect owner of properties located in London.

“I was never involved in or associated with the acquisition of the London properties through any real or beneficial title, he said.

Sharif also expressed serious reservations about the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) which was set up by the Supreme Court last year and its report led to Sharif’s disqualification and start of corruption cases.

“There are and always have been reservations against the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) members, he said.

He especially mentioned representatives of Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence in the JIT and said their inclusion was “unnecessary”.

He also said that other four members of the JIT were not neutral as some of them had political affiliations while others had a track record of anti-Sharif bias.

The court adjourned the hearing until tomorrow.

The three cases include Avenfield properties, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment. Sharif is accused in all three with his two sons while his daughter and son-in-law are co-accused only in Avenfiled case.

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