Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Federal Investigation Agency Additional Director Wajid Zia, who headed Panama Papers case Joint Investigation Team (JIT), on Monday recorded his statement to an accountability court in the corruption trial of former finance minister Ishaq Dar.

Earlier today, Judge Mohammad Bashir adjourned hearing until 11:30 after Zia, a star witness in the case, did not appear in the court as he was in the Supreme Court to get a copy of the JIT report. He also submitted wealth statements in the court.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has filed a reference against former finance minister for possessing assets beyond known sources of income in the light of Panamagate verdict announced by the Supreme Court on July 28, 2017.

The judge resumed hearing of the case after Wajid Zia appeared before the court and submitted volume one and nine of the original Panama case JIT report. He also recorded his statement in the case. The court has recorded statements of 26 out of 28 prosecution witnesses.

He informed the court that the apex court constituted the JIT on May 5 under his leadership, adding that his name was suggested by the FIA.

Talking about the investigation into the case, he said that Dar’s assets were stood at Rs9.1 million in 1991, adding that the same stands at Rs831.6m in the 2008-09.

The court has summoned investigation officer Nadir Abbas and another prosecution witness on next hearing.

NAB Reference

According to the NAB reference, the accused had acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his name or in the name of his dependents of an approximate amount of Rs831.678 million as per the investigation conducted so far.

The assets are disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for, the reference said.

Indictment

On September 27, the former finance minister had been indicted for possessing assets beyond his known sources of income.

Dar had rejected the allegations levelled by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in its reference prepared following the orders of the Supreme Court in its July 28 verdict in Panamagate case.

Proclaimed Offender

The accountability court declared former finance minister Ishaq Dar a proclaimed offender in a corruption case regarding possession of assets beyond means.

Judge Mohammad Bashir had announced the decision after the former finance minister did not attend the court hearings continuously as he is in London for medical treatment. He has skipped the last six hearings of the case.

The court was informed that Zia had been summoned and should appear soon. The judge then adjourned the proceedings until 11:30am today to give time to the prosecution witness to appear.