Corruption cases: fresh notices issued to Sharif brothers
By Recorder Report
An Accountability Court (AC) on Saturday issued fresh notices to the Sharif brothers and other members of family to respond to a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) application that had sought reopening of three corruption references against them.
Special Judge Chaudhry Abdul Haq issued fresh notices to PML-N President Nawaz Sharif, Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif and others before he adjourned the hearing in connection with three corruption references: ‘Hudaibiya Paper Mills,’ ‘Assets Beyond Known Sources of Income’ and ‘Ittefaq Foundry (Wilful Loan Default)’ till August 6 after no accused appeared before the court.
Akram Shaikh, the counsel for the Sharif brothers, requested the court to adjourn the hearing of NAB’s application against his clients to an unspecified date. However, the judge put off the hearing of Hudaibiya Paper Mills till September 15, 2012 on the request of Sheikh, who apprised the court that he would only contest the reference on behalf of the Sharif family.
The counsel argued that the NAB could not approach the accountability court for reopening of the cases after the Lahore High Court (LHC) stopped the federal government from proceeding on these cases in October 2011. He said that Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif along with other accused filed a petition in LHC in 2011 to get the cases quashed as the NAB had no plausible ground to proceed against them.
He further argued that the accountability court could not initiate proceedings until LHC had not decided the petition. He accused the PPP leadership of motivating the NAB to move this application in a trial court to politically victimising the Sharif brothers.
Chaudhry Riaz, NAB’s Additional Prosecutor General, however, told the court that the NAB was not responsible for the delay in reopening the three corruption references against the Sharif brothers. He added that the NAB had earlier filed an application to seek revival of references – in 2007 and in 2010. However, he added, an objection was raised that the application was not duly signed by the NAB chairman – a slot that remained vacant for some time.
He added that this application filed on July 18 was duly signed by the Chairman NAB after the NAB officials observed that sufficient evidence existed against the accused to try them in an accountability court. The court directed the NAB to provide the copies of its application to the lawyers representing the accused and directed the defence to file their written response to a question whether cases could be opened in presence of high court’s stay order.