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NAB challenges Nawaz’s acquittal in Flagship reference


News Desk |

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has announced to challenge former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s acquittal in the Flagship Investments reference in the Islamabad High Court. NAB is also likely to petition the high court for enhancement of the prison sentence for the former premier in Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference in which he was convicted and handed a seven-year jail term.

An accountability court had on December 24 acquitted Sharif in the Flagship Investments reference while sentencing him to seven years imprisonment and imposing a fine of PKR1.5 billion and USD25 million in the Al-Azizia reference.

Sharifs’ appeal against the Avenfield verdict and the NAB’s appeal against the suspension of the sentences in the Avenfield case remain pending before the Islamabad High Court and the Supreme Court respectively.

Nawaz too approached the high court on Jan 1, challenging his conviction in the Al-Azizia case. Nawaz, who is currently serving his prison sentence in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail, has also sought suspension of his sentence until the decision of his appeal.

NAB will file the appeal against Nawaz’s conviction in the Flagship while also seeking enhancement of his sentence in the Al-Azizia case. NAB maintains the maximum punishment under subsection v of section 9-A of the National Accountability Ordinance is 14 years and while the former premier was found guilty but he was awarded a punishment of seven years.

Read more: Nawaz Sharif handed 7 years in Al-Azizia, acquitted in Flagship reference

December 24 judgment concluded a series of cases of money laundering and corruption against the Sharif family constituted in the wake of the Panama papers in 2017. The former premier was disqualified from being a member of the parliament by the Supreme Court for not disclosing his employment in the UAE-based Capital FZE company on July 28, 2017, and had ordered the National Accountability Bureau to file three references against the Sharif family.

In the Avenfield Reference decided by the accountability court on July 6 last year, Nawaz was sentenced to 10 years in prison while his daughter Maryam Nawaz was handed down a seven-year sentence and son-in-law Captain retired Mohammad Safdar received one year.

Read more: Nawaz requests court to hear closing arguments of Avenfield, Al-Azizia, Flagship…

However, the Islamabad High Court suspended the sentences awarded in the Avenfield case and granted bail to all three convicts on September 19. Sharifs’ appeal against the Avenfield verdict and the NAB’s appeal against the suspension of the sentences in the Avenfield case remain pending before the Islamabad High Court and the Supreme Court respectively.

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