Supplementary references: NAB court records statements of witnesses against Nawaz

  • Panama Papers JIT head Wajid Zia would also appear before court to record statement in Avenfield case

ISLAMABAD – An accountability court on Friday recorded the statements of witnesses in two supplementary references – Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment – as hearing underway.

Judge Mohammad Bashir took up the supplementary references after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar reached the court amid tight security.

In the first half of the hearing, the court recorded statements of Abdul Hanan, Sunil Ijaz and Rizwan Khan in the references against Nawaz Sharif, while it will take up third supplementary reference regarding Avenfiled properties after Friday prayers.

Counsel for Nawaz Sharif, Advocate Khawaja Haris Ahmad cross-examined the witnesses.

A star prosecution witness, Panama Papers Joint Investigation Team head Wajid Zia, would appear before an accountability court to record his statement in the Avenfield properties case against members of Sharif family.

It is for the first time that Wajid Zia will appear before the court as a prosecution witness in the case, which will be taken up by Judge Mohammad Bashir.

It is to mention here that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed three interim corruption references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his children – Hasan, Hussain and Maryam Nawaz – and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case.

The anti-graft watchdog recently filed supplementary references in all three cases – Avenfiled properties, Al-Azizia Steel Mills, Flagship Investment and other offshore companies.

The statements of all seven witnesses, including forensic expert Robert Radley, have been recorded in the Avenfield supplementary reference, while statements of two witnesses – Wajid Zia and Investigation Officer – in the interim reference are yet to be recorded.

On Thursday, the court recorded statements of five witnesses in the Flagship reference and summoned three more witnesses – Abdul Hanan, Sunin Ijaz and another.

Advocate Khawaja Haris Ahmad, counsel for members of Sharif family, suggested to the court that he might cross-examine Zia next working day after his statement is recorded.

Prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi said the defence counsel should complete cross-examination on the witness the same day.