Court extends Maryam’s remand period by 7 days

LAHORE: An accountability court has extended for seven days the remand period of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz, who has been in the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) custody since August 8 in connection with Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case.

Maryam, who is detained at the daycare centre of NAB Headquarters in Lahore, was presented in the court of Judge Ameer Muhammad Khan amid heightened security, along with one of her cousins, Yousuf Abbas, who is also one of the accused in the case.

NAB investigation officer (IO) told the court that Maryam, her mother Kulsoom Nawaz, grandfather Mian Sharif, brother Hussain Nawaz and some other members of Sharif family were members of the company’s  board of directors.

He said the PML-N vice president also acted as the CSM’s chief executive office in 2004. The company, he said, also took loans from various companies.

“NAB has summoned record of the loans from all these companies as well as the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). As NAB will interrogate the accused in the light of SBP report, it is requested that there remand period may be extended,” he said.

Opposing NAB’s request, Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervaiz said NAB’s report was contrary to facts. He said in 1992 all properties were owned by Mian Sharif, who transferred them to his children and grandchildren from 1992 to 1999. “All properties owned by Maryam are legal,” he said.

However, after hearing the argument, the judge extended Maryam’s remand period.

NAB arrested Maryam from Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail while she was visiting her incarcerated father, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. It accused the Sharif family of using the CSM for money laundering and availing millions of rupees in subsidy without actually exporting sugar.

The PML-N vice president was supposed to appear before NAB on August 8 for questioning in the CSM inquiry but she had sought more time for submitting her response and had gone to meet her father. She had been arrested for not appearing before the anti-graft watchdog.

A NAB team had also raided home of Maryam’s uncle Shehbaz Sharif, the PML-N president and leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, in search of another of one her cousins, Abdul Aziz.

Before her arrest, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar had alleged that the Sharif family used CSM for money laundering and availed millions of rupees in subsidy without actually exporting sugar.

Addressing a news conference, Akbar had said the sugar mill was set up in 1991 as an offshore company when Nawaz was the prime minister and the family had obtained a loan of $15 million from Bahrain to purchase its machinery.  “The mill was established even before the loan was released,” he said.

The prime minister’s aide had said in 2008, the mill’s shares were transferred to Maryam, who later transferred around seven million of them to Yousaf in 2010.  Maryam had appeared before NAB on July 31 to record her statement in connection with the ‘dubious’ business transactions of CSM.

Says she can hold position of PML-N vice president; Articles 62-62 do not apply in her case

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