Top court issues notice to NAB over Nawaz’s bail plea

Top court issues notice to NAB over Nawaz’s bail plea

Islamabad (Staff Report/Agencies): The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday issued notice to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) over former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s bail plea on medical grounds in Al Azizia Mills case.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Yahya Afridi issued a notice to the NAB to submit reply in the matter in the next hearing fixed for March 26. The apex court will announce the judgment on the same day, added chief justice.

Defence counsel Khawaja Haris presented arguments in the case and citing medical reports. He claimed that the three-time premier is taking 17 different medications.

“We know that Nawaz receives medical care in London. We want to know whether his health deteriorated in prison,” asked the chief justice during the hearing of the petition.

On February 25, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) dismissed Nawaz’s petition seeking bail and suspension of his seven-year sentence in the Al-Azizia reference on medical grounds.

Nawaz, who is serving a seven-year jail term awarded to him in the Al-Azizia corruption case at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail, had twice submitted requests to the top court for early hearing of his application.

On December 24, the accountability court 2 of Islamabad had handed a seven-year imprisonment to Nawaz Sharif along with a fine of Rs1.5 billion and $ 25 million in the Al Azizia Steel Mills/ Hill Metal Establishment reference. It had, however, acquitted him in the Flagship Investment reference.

The judge in his 131-page judgment in Al Azizia corruption reference concluded that the prosecution (NAB) successfully established all the ingredients of the offence of corruption and corrupt practices against Nawaz Sharif as defined under section 9 (a) (v) of the NAO 1999 read with section 14 (c).

“Thereof as per the charge  framed for holding and being true and real beneficial owner of the assets, the Al Azizia Steel Company Limited (ASCL), the Hill Metal Establishment (HME) and related remittances, beyond his known sources of income as he failed to establish contrary thereto.”

The order said Nawaz Sharif and his sons – Hussain and Hassan – are very closely related and members of a tightly knit, monolithic, patriarchal family with close association and jointly held financial business interests. There is nothing on record to suggest that there is any hostility between the three.

It also held that claim of Sharif that he has no beneficial interest or share in ASCL is unsubstantiated, false and fabricated and his son Hussain Nawaz was never the exclusive nor real and beneficial owner.

Meanwhile, the NAB had also challenged the accountability court's December 24 verdicts in the Al Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment reference against Nawaz Sharif.