Corruption cases: Two witnesses record statements against Nawaz, family

ISLAMABAD: Two prosecution witnesses recorded their statements with the accountability court hearing corruption references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family today.

Nawaz arrived at the Federal Judicial Complex along with his daughter Maryam after departing from the Punjab House in Islamabad earlier.

Maryam’s husband, MNA Capt (retd) Safdar, also appeared in court.

Two witnesses — Ghulam Mustafa and Yasir Shabbir — recorded their statements before Accountability Court-I Judge Muhammad Bashir.

The third witness, Afaq Ahmad, could not record his statement today.
The hearing was then adjourned until January 30.
Unlike most times, the former premier did not address the media after exiting the courtroom today.

The references

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed three corruption references against the Sharif family in September last year in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case.
The references against the Sharif family pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.

Nawaz is accused in all three cases whereas Maryam and Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only.

All three have been indicted in the cases, with Nawaz’s sons Hussain and Hasan declared proclaimed offenders due to their continuous no-show.

Fresh evidence, new witnesses in Avenfield case

On Monday, NAB filed in the accountability court a supplementary reference against Nawaz and four others in the Avenfield case.
NAB informed the judge that the new supplementary reference which has fresh pieces of evidence against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader includes seven new prosecution witnesses, including two from the United Kingdom.
Forensic expert Robert Radley and a close relative of Panama case Joint Investigative Team head, Federal Investigation Agency Additional Director Wajid Zia, will be the witnesses in the case, while two other witnesses are affiliated with the Ministry of Information.
NAB informed that it has taken the initial statement from the witnesses based in the UK.
The apex anti-corruption watchdog said that one of the witnesses belongs to a private media channel, while two others work under NAB.
Moreover, it also informed the court that excerpts of TV interviews of Nawaz, Maryam, Hasan and Hussain are part of the fresh evidence.

Last hearing

At the last hearing of the case on January 16, Nawaz appeared at the hearing along with his daughter and son-in-law.

Two witnesses recorded their statement in court and were cross-examined by Nawaz’s counsel.

Speaking outside the court, Nawaz had questioned the ‘accountability process’ being conducted against him.