ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Monday handed ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif seven years in jail in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference and ordered that his properties be seized, Dawn News reported.
The court also fined Nawaz Rs 1.5 billion and 2.5 million pounds, NAB special prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi said.
A disqualification of 10 years from holding any public office is part of the sentences awarded to Nawaz, the prosecutor added. The disqualification will go into effect following his release from jail after serving the seven-year sentence.
The reference pertains to the Sharifs being unable to justify the source of the funds provided to set up Al-Azizia and Hill Metal Establishment in Saudi Arabia, making this a case of owning assets beyond means.
The former premier, however, was acquitted in the Flagship Investments reference. Accountability Judge Arshad Malik while reading out the short order said there was no case against Nawaz in the Flagship reference. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) announced that it would appeal against the verdict.
Following the judgement, Nawaz was taken into custody from the courtroom. His lawyer Khawaja Haris requested the judge that the PML-N quaid be shifted to Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Central Jail instead of Adiala jail. The court, after reserving its verdict on the request, agreed but said he would be sent to Adiala today and to Kot Lakhpat tomorrow (Tuesday).
Armoured vehicles standing by outside the premises transported the former three-time prime minister to Adiala prison. They left the judicial complex at 4:45pm.
Nawaz will travel from Rawalpindi to Lahore in his personal bulletproof vehicle and will be accompanied by a judicial magistrate. He has asked Hamza Shahbaz to reach Adiala jail with the car at 10am.
No case against Nawaz in Flagship reference
The verdict ─ initially expected between 9am to 10am ─ was announced almost immediately after Nawaz arrived in the courtroom close to 2:45pm.
Accountability Judge Arshad Malik, while reading out the short order, said that Nawaz was indicted in the Al-Azizia reference under Section 9(a)(v) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.
Section 9(a)(v) says: “A holder of a public office, or any other person, is said to commit or to have committed the offence of corruption and corrupt practices if he or any of his dependents or benamidar owns, possesses, or has acquired right or title in any assets or holds irrevocable power of attorney in respect of any assets or pecuniary resources disproportionate to his known sources of income, which he cannot reasonably account for, or maintains a standard of living beyond that which is commensurate with his sources of income.”
The short order said that the burden of proof lies on Nawaz in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case.
The detailed judgement of the cases is yet to be released.