Avenfield case: Wajid Zia's cross-examination enters tenth day

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s counsel is continuing, for the tenth time today, the cross-examination of Wajid Zia, the Federal Investigation Agency additional director who headed the Panama case joint investigation team (JIT) which probed the Sharif family’s assets last year, in the Avenfield case.

The Avenfield properties reference is among three filed against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last year on the Supreme Court’s directives.
Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir, who has been conducting corruption proceedings against the Sharif family since September last year, resumed hearing the case today.
Nawaz arrived at the court along with his daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar before the hearing began. He also continued his tradition of interacting with reporters in the courtroom.
As the hearing went under way, Khawaja Haris, Nawaz’s counsel, resumed cross-examining Zia.

Later, Haris completed his cross-examination of Zia, after which Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervez is expected to begin his cross-examination.

Zia earlier recorded his statement over six hearings.
At the last hearing, the NAB prosecutor argued that Haris is attempting to delay the case unnecessarily by going in circles during his questioning of Zia.
He claimed that Nawaz’s Iqama [foreign work permit] and salary have been accepted but still the defence claims that the former premier did not take any salary.
Haris responded that the matter is debatable and they can argue over it endlessly.

The cases

The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14, 2017.
NAB to file three supplementary references against Nawaz
The corruption references, filed against the Sharifs, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.
Nawaz and sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only.
The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.