Islamabad (December 15, 2017): The Supreme Court will resume hearing of National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) appeal against a Lahore High Court bench decision to quash Hudaibiya Papers Mills reference.
On last date of hearing, the court had adjourned the case without any proceeding due to unavailability of a member of the bench.
The Rs1.2 billion Hudaibiya Paper Mills case, involving money laundering charges against the Sharif family, was initiated by NAB in 2000 but quashed by the Lahore High Court (LHC) in 2014.The three-member SC bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam and comprising justices Qazi Faez Isa and Mazhar Alam Miankhel will resume hearing of the case today.
During Tuesday’s proceedings, Justice Isa had asked the NAB prosecutor about the charges against the suspects in the case.
NAB Prosecutor Imran-ul-Haq had informed the bench of the names of fake account holders, to which Justice Isa remarked that having fake accounts does not prove criminality, adding that the same facts were present in 2000.
The bench had also inquired as to where the Hudaibiya case was mentioned in the July 28 Panama Papers case judgment, to which the NAB prosecutor replied that the judgment ordered the filing of fresh references if new evidence surfaces.He had said that the Panama case Joint Investigation Team’s report contains material related to the Hudaibiya case. Justice Isa had remarked during the hearing that the apex court cannot rely on statements and needs solid evidence.
Newly appointed NAB Special Prosecutor Justice (retd) Shah Khawar had also observed Tuesday’s proceedings.
On Monday last, the three-member bench had dismissed NAB’s request to adjourn proceedings of the case until a new prosecutor general is appointed at the bureau.
The Hudaibiya Paper Mills was allegedly used as a cover by the Sharif family to launder money outside the country in the 1990s.It was in relation to this case that the Sharif family’s trusted aide, Ishaq Dar, recorded a confessional statement on April 25, 2000 in front of a magistrate in Lahore accepting his role in laundering money.
On the basis of that confession, a reference was filed by the NAB in 2000 before an accountability court against the Hudabiya Paper Mills, three Sharif brothers, Dar and others.
Dar was not charged as he had become an approver for the prosecution.