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Four witnesses recorded their statements against Nawaz Sharif and family

10 January, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Four more witnesses recorded their statements on Tuesday in the accountability court hearing the corruption references against Nawaz Sharif and his family members.

After recording the statements, the accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir directed NAB’s prosecutors to produce three more witnesses at the next hearing. These witnesses are: Umar Daraz Gondal, Afaq Ahmad and Muhammad Junejo.

During the hearing, Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (r) Muhammad Safdar were present in the court.

The prosecution witnesses who recorded their statements are: Sidra Mansoor, a joint registrar of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Muhammad Tasleem, an Inland Revenue Commissioner of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Muhammad Zubair, an employee of a private bank and Uzair Rehan, an official of NAB. Another prosecution witness of Avenfield properties reference Umar Daraz Gondal could not turn up on account of his ailment.

After recording the statements, the witnesses were cross-examined by Khawaja Haris Ahmad, senior counsel for Nawaz Sharif.

Amjad Pervez, counsel for Maryam and Safdar, objected on the absence of NAB’s fifth witness Umar Daraz Gondal. He stated that he was not told about the absence of Gondal. He asked the NAB prosecutor to present medical certificate issued by a government hospital for the absent witness at the next hearing.

In her statement, Sidra Mansoor stated that she had presented before the NAB’s investigator the details of Hussain Nawaz’s shares in Mehran Ramzan Textile Mills Ltd. She said Hussain Nawaz owned 487,400 shares in the Mehran Ramzan Textile Mills.

She stated that on March 27, 2001, the shares were transferred to the trust of the Sharif family as a gift, adding that on March 28, 2008, Hussain Nawaz again owned 100,000 shares in the mills.

Objecting on the statement of Sidra Mansoor, Khawaja Haris argued that the documents presented by her were related to different business concerns, whereas the current proceedings were related to Jeddah based Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment.

Sidra then stated that she was not aware whether the records of Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment were available with the SECP or not.

In his statement Muhammad Tasleem stated that he had presented the record of income and wealth tax of Nawaz Sharif and his children. Muhammad Zubair stated that he had presented the details of bank accounts of Sharif and his children. Later, the court adjourned the hearing till January 16.

The Islamabad district administration and police had made strict security arrangements in and around the accountability court ahead of Nawaz Sharif and his family members’ appearance.

Nawaz Sharif was received by a number of cabinet members and leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) at his arrival at the accountability court.

The Supreme Court in its July 28, 2017 verdict in Panama Papers case had disqualified Nawaz Sharif as prime minister and directed NAB to file three corruption references against him and his family members within six weeks and the accountability court wrap up the proceedings within six months.

Mr Sharif is accused in three references, which include Jeddah based Al-Azizia Steel Mills, offshore companies including Flagship Investments Ltd, and Avenfield properties in London. Maryam and Safdra are accused only in the Avenfield properties reference.

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