Panamgate JIT head Wajid testifies in Al-Azizia case against Sharifs

  • All prosecution witnesses in the London flats case have been examined
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – An accountability court on Thursday resumed hearing of a corruption reference against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Judge Mohammad Bashir recorded the statement of Panamagate joint investigation team head Wajid Zia after taking up the Al-Azizia Steel Mills/Hill Metal Establishment reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the light of the Panamagate verdict.

The former premier also reached the court to attend the corruption trial, while co-accused – Hasan and Hussain Nawaz – have been declared absconder for not appearing before the court.

During the heairng, the key prosecution produced some documents related to the companies, including statements of Nawaz’s children – Maryam, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz. The court made the statements part of the judicial proceedings, while counsel for Nawaz, Khawaja Haris objected to it.

The JIT head also submitted the partnership agreement between Tariq Shafi and Abdullah Kayed Ahli, share sale agreements of the Gulf Steel Mills of 1975 and 1980, a letter of credit issued by a bank in UAE and Sharif’s bank accounts detail.

He also provided a letter sent by Qatari prince Hamad bin Jassim in response to the JIT’s letter. Zia also submitted an audit reported presented by Hussain Nawaz during interrogation.

He informed the judge that the investigation team probed the questions framed by the apex court for the JIT.

Later, accountability court Judge Mohammad Bashir adjourned the hearing till Friday.

In an informal talk with reporters inside the court, Nawaz Sharif hailed PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s statement about NAB’s functions, adding that the anti-graft watchdog was misusing the authority in many cases.

Calling for abolishing the NAB law, the former PM said that Pervez Musharaf, former president, had designed it for his vested interests. “We could not concentrate on this law due to focus on development works,” he said.

Talking about recent allegations of money-laundering, Sharif said that an emergency presser has been called at the Punjab House in Islamabad to respond the accusations.

Three corruption references pertaining to Avenfield properties, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investments against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his children –Maryam, Hasan and Hussain Nawaz, and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar are being heard by the court.

All prosecution witnesses in the London flats case have been examined, while Wajid Zia and investigation officer are yet to be testified in remaining two references.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court granted around the one-month extension to the accountability court for wrapping up the corruption cases against members of Sharif family.

Accountability court gets second extension in Sharifs’ trial

The apex court, while hearing a plea filed by accountability court judge, ordered the trial court to complete the proceedings until June 9.

Judge Mohammad Bashir in his plea sought three months to conclude the cases but the court approved the one-month extension. The previous deadline is going to expire on May 12.