LAHORE: An accountability court on Thursday returned a reference against former premier Nawaz Sharif and others regarding illegal allotment of plots to Jang group’s editor-in-chief Mir Shakilur Rehman for placing it before a court of competent jurisdiction following amendments in the law.
The court allowed the application of Yousaf Abbas, nephew of Nawaz Sharif, and others and observed that the accountability court lacked jurisdiction to proceed with the case further as per the latest amendment in section 5 of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999.
The court returned the reference to the chairman of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for placing it before a court of competent jurisdiction without any delay.
The applicants through their counsel contended that the NAB, after the new amendments, could not prosecute an alleged offence involving money less than Rs 500 million. They said the amount of the alleged offence in the reference in question was Rs 143 million, which did not fall in the jurisdiction of NAB.
They submitted that the trial court had already acquitted Shakilur Rehman and two other accused persons including former officers of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA).
The applicants said the court had declared Nawaz Sharif a proclaimed offender and also ordered auction of his properties. They pleaded that the order of the court was not sustainable after the new amendments in the law. They asked the court to withdraw its order and return the reference to the NAB chairman for further action. The applicants had also challenged the auction of the properties supposedly owned by Nawaz Sharif.
The NAB had alleged that Shakilur Rehman illegally obtained exemption of 54 plots each measuring one-kanal situated in Johar Town. It said the allotment of the land had been in connivance with then chief minister Nawaz Sharif against the exemption policy and the laws for monetary gains. It alleged the accused caused a loss of Rs143 million to national exchequer.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023