Nawaz's counsel objects to NAB's supplementary reference in Avenfield case

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court resumed hearing the corruption references against former premier Nawaz Sharif and his family today.

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, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar reached the Federal Judicial Complex from the Punjab House to appear before Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir.
This is Nawaz’s 15th appearance in court.

As the hearing went under way, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Harris objected to the filing of a supplementary reference in the Avenfield case, arguing that there is nothing new in the supplementary reference.

He pleaded the court not to accept the supplementary reference as it is not per the Supreme Court’s┬ádirectives.

The court then reserved its verdict on Nawaz’s plea and began hearing the Al Azizia reference.

Foreign Office’s Afaq Ahmad is presently recording his statement in court.

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.

The two are accused in all three references.

Previous hearings

Two prosecution witnesses recorded their statements in the last hearing held on January 23 before the court.

The day before, 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.