ISLAMABAD - Accountability Court Islamabad has allowed the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) investigation team to grill former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for misusing his authority in purchase of 33 high-security vehicles in Kot Lakhpat Jail.

The accountability court also directed the jail superintendent to cooperate and make convenient availability of accused to the investigation officer and case officer for inquiry purpose.

Yesterday, Deputy Director NAB Rawalpindi Abdul Majid filed an application in accountability court seeking permission to interrogate accused Nawaz Sharif presently confined in jail after judgment passed in Reference No/19/2017 titled state Vs Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and others. The application says, “Accused Nawaz Sham has been tried in Reference No. 19/2017 and confined to undergo rigorous imprisonment (R.I) for seven years vide judgment passed on 24th December, 2018 by this hon'able court.”

“That the convict is presently under going the sentence in Kot Lakhpat Jail Lahore under warrant issued by this hon'ble court. That National Accountability Bureau (Rawalpindi) has to conduct an inquiry under the provision of MAO 1999 against officers/officials of foreign affairs, Ministry of Interior, Intelligence Bureau and others regarding corruption and corrupt practices, misuse of authority in purchase and utilisation of 33 unnecessary high security vehicles under false pretext of procurement for foreign dignitaries.”

“That during the course of inquiry proceedings, it was revealed that Nawaz Sharif , ex-prime minister had remained involved in the approval process of procurement at 33x high security vehicles (Mercedes and BMW) in 2015-16. That in context of his involvement, the accused is required to be interrogated and confronted with the material/record collected during course of inquiry for recording of his version.”

“Therefore, it is respectfully prayed that CIT comprising Abdul Majid. Deputy Director, investigation officer and Hammad Hassan Niazi, Addl. Director, case officer may be permitted to interrogate accused Nawaz Sharif in Kot Lakhpat Jail premises, presently, confined in execution of judgment passed in Reference No. 19/2017.”

The Islamabad Accountability Court accepted his application issuing an order which says, “Investigation Officer (IO) has submitted an application supported by the inquiry authorisation letter pertaining to composition of combined investigation team (CIT) dated 06.09.2018 for grant of permission to interrogate accused Nawaz Sharif S/o Muhammad Sharif in reference No. 19/2017 titled State Vs. Nawaz Sharif & others In Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore.”

It further says that investigation officer apprised the court that he had also interrogated Fawad Hassan Fawad, ex-secretary to prime minister on 26th December, 2018, in Camp Jail Lahore. In the said inquiry and after good deal of progress in the investigation, he wants to interrogate accused Nawaz Sharif , the then PM, to confront him with the record collected during course of inquiry and to get his explanation with reference to inter alia the allegations of purchase of unnecessary high security vehicles (Mercedes and BMW). The IO has shown record indicating connectivity involvement of Nawaz Sharif , necessitating his interrogation in the high security vehicles case. As such, request so made is allowed and Abdul Majid Deputy Director/IO and Hammad Hassan Niazi, Additional Director/CO, are permitted to interrogate accused Nawaz Sharif in jail premises.”

“The jail superintendent is directed to cooperate and make convenient availability of accused to the IO and CO for inquiry purpose.”

APP adds: NAB officials also pleaded that the vehicles were purchased from Germany and imported without paying duty for the guests of SAARC conference. However, 20 vehicles were used in the motorcade which had been kept in his (Nawaz) and his daughter Maryam Nawaz’s personal use.

It further said the anti-graft body had recorded the statement of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and other officials.

NAB said the Foreign Office officials had misused their powers in matter of high-security vehicles.