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NAB challenges Al-Aziza, Flagship verdicts in IHC

The National Accountability Bureau on Wednesday challenged the accountability court’s Dec 24 verdicts in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investments corruption references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Accountability Court Judge Arshad Malik on Dec 24 handed Sharif seven years in jail and a fine of Rs1.5 billion and US $25 million in the Al-Aziza reference, and acquitted him in the Flagship reference. The two references concern the setting up of the Al-Azizia and Hill Metal Establishment in Saudi Arabia, and Flagship Investments in the United Kingdom.

NAB in an appeal filed in the Islamabad High Court asserted that it had provided a great deal of evidence against the PML-N supremo in the Flagship reference, and that giving Sharif the benefit of the doubt and indicting him was against the law.

It contended that his indictment should be declared null and void and that the IHC should issue a verdict against Nawaz on the basis of evidence.

In its appeal against the Al-Azizia verdict, the anti-corruption body argued that a seven-year jail sentence for Sharif in the case was too little and should be increased.

The appeal stated that the punishment for corruption under Section 9(a)(v) of the National Accountability Ordinance is 14 years in jail.

The PML-N quaid was made party to both appeals.

Sharif had on Tuesday challenged his conviction in the Al-Aziza reference in the IHC, claiming that the accountability court’s verdict in the case is marred with flaws and legal lacunae. The appeal pointed out certain ‘extraneous’ factors which, it said, an accountability judge never considered while imparting judgements in routine cases.

The former prime minister, who is currently serving a prison sentence, also filed an application seeking suspension of the sentence

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