SECP told to sell Nawaz’s unclaimed shares, properties

• Accountability court seeks compliance report from authorities
• Objection petitions filed against some attached properties

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court has directed the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) as well as the relevant authorities to sell unclaimed shares and properties of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and deposit the proceeds with the state treasury.

Accountability Judge Syed Asghar Ali allowed the application filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), seeking directives to the authorities concerned to sell the attached properties of Nawaz Sharif under section 88 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

The court order stated: “Perusal of record revealed that the accused namely Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif has been declared as proclaimed offender (PO)…this court vide order dated October 01, 2020 ordered the attachment of properties of accused.”

According to the order, six objection petitions had been filed before the court with respect to some of the attached properties. However, there are certain attached properties against which no claims have been preferred, it said, adding that “Mr Sharif has not surrendered before this court even after lapse of six months…therefore, in view of the available record and in order to procure the attendance of the accused, the application filed by NAB is allowed”.

“Concerned authorities on whose disposal of the attached properties are hereby directed under section 88 of the CrPC to sell out unclaimed attached properties while the chairman SECP is directed to sell out the attached shares of the accused in different companies within 30 days,” the order said.

According to the judicial record, Mr Sharif owns 467,950 shares in Mohammad Bakhsh Textile Mills, 343,425 in Hudaibya Paper Mills, 22,213 in Hudaibya Engineering Co and 48,606 shares in Ittefaq Textile Mills.

The deputy commissioners of Lahore and Sheikhupura have been directed to sell immovable properties within 60 days which included House No. 135 Upper Mall Lahore and 88.4 kanals of agriculture land in Ferozwattan in Sheikhupura district.

The excise and taxation offices of Islamabad and Lahore have been directed to take possession of vehicles with the assistance of the local police and sell them within 60 days.

The vehicles are Toyota Land Cruiser Model 2010, Mercedes Model 1973, Mercedes Benz Model 1991, Tractor Model 2011 and Tractor Model 2015.

The court directed the Manager MCB New Garden Town, Lahore, Standard Chartered Bank, Gulberg Islamic Branch, and Wapda Town Lahore, Manager Allied Bank New Garden Town and Manager Bank Al-Falah, Y-Block Defence Branch Lahore, to transfer the available funds into the accounts of Mr Sharif in favour of the state treasury within 30 days.

There are Rs88,150 available in MCB, Rs30,000 in two branches of Standard Chartered Bank, EUR566, $698 and GBP498 in three other branches of the same bank, Rs397,810 in Allied Bank and Rs88,704 in Bank Al-Falah.

The court sought compliance report from the above mentioned authorities.

The judge also mentioned two properties — 12 acres of agriculture land (guava orchard) in Mouza Manak Lahore and 24 kanals of fish farm in Mouza Badokisani, Lahore — since the attachment was objected to by Mohammad Ashraf and Umair Razzaq, respectively.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz has already challenged the attachment of properties of the Sharif family in Murree and Changla Gali with other properties frozen in connection with the Toshakhana reference.

Maryam Nawaz filed the objection petition against the attachment of House No. 24-A&B, III, Hall Road, Murree, and a house in Changla Gali, Abbottabad, in the Toshakhana case.

She stated in the petition that both houses were owned by her late mother, Kulsoom Nawaz. She said the two houses had been purchased much before the period mentioned in the reference and after the death of the owner of the houses in question, the ownership devolved upon legal heirs as per the judgement and decree dated May 14, 2019, and the houses were undivided properties in the joint ownership of all legal heirs.

She requested the court that the order dated Oct 1, 2020 was liable to be corrected under section 88 (6A) of the Criminal Procedure Code and the above-mentioned properties may be released from the attachment.

According to the Toshakhana reference, former president Asif Ali Zardari had obtained vehicles by paying only 15 per cent of the price of luxury vehicles. Out of three vehicles, he gifted a 1991 model Mercedes to Mr Sharif.

The National Accountability Bureau alleged that former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had facilitated the allotment of the vehicles to Mr Zardari and Mr Sharif by dishonestly and illegally relaxing the procedure for acceptance and disposal of gifts vide a Cabinet Division memorandum of 2007.

The Accountability Court-III of Islamabad had in May last year issued non-bailable warrants for Nawaz Sharif for not attending the court proceedings.

Published in Dawn,