Incarcerated former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday appeared before the accountability court in Islamabad amid tight security for the hearing of the Al Azizia and Flagship corruption references against him.
A number of PML-N workers gathered outside the accountability court to show their support for the ousted premier. They attempted to shower rose petals on Sharif but were taken into custody by the police.
While talking to reporters, Sharif claimed that he used to pay the day-to-day expenses of the Prime Minister House from his own pocket. He added that he has the cheques as proof.
The former head of state's comments came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his first address to the nation as the 22nd premier of the country, broke down the expenses of the Prime Minister House.
"The prime minister has 524 servants and 80 cars. The prime minister, which is me, also has 33 bulletproof cars. The prime ministers all have helicopters and aeroplanes to fly them. We have massive governor houses and every conceivable luxury," PM Khan had listed during his televised address, adding that he planned on cutting down his own as well the country's expenditure. "I will keep only two people with me out of the [prime minister's staff of] 524. I will be staying in a three-bedroom house that served as the military secretary's house."
During today's hearing, Mehboob Alam, the investigation officer in the Al Azizia reference, was supposed to continue his statement in the case but Sharif's counsel Khawaja Haris pleaded with the court to allow him to cross-examine the star witness in the case, Wajid Zia, first.
The accountability court accepted the plea and summoned Zia in the next hearing. After Haris' cross-examination, Zia will record his statement in the Flagship reference.
The prosecution appealed to the court to let the IO complete his statement before the court, but the judge turned down the plea.
The hearing of the case has been adjourned to Monday, August 27.
On July 6, accountability court Judge Mohammad Bashir had announced the verdict in the Avenfield properties corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), handing the ousted prime minister 10 years jail time for owning assets beyond known income and his daughter Maryam Nawaz seven years for abetment.
Later on July 16, Sharif, through his counsel Khawaja Haris, had filed an appeal in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for the transfer of Al Azizia and Flagship references to another accountability court since the arguments in both cases were similar to the ones given in the Avenfield reference. Days later, Judge Bashir had decided to recuse himself from hearing the two pending references.
Subsequently, the IHC transferred two pending references against Nawaz Sharif from the court of Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir to another Accountability Judge Arshad Malik.
During the last hearing, Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik recorded the statement of Mehboob Alam, the investigation officer in the Al Azizia reference, in the presence of PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif and ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif who was convicted in the Avenfield properties reference last month.
The last prosecution witness in the Al Azizia Steel/Hill Metal Establishment reference had provided details of several transactions in bank accounts of the Sharifs.
During the proceedings, the investigation officer had referred to an audit report and testified that Nawaz Sharif allegedly received roughly 80 per cent of the profit generated from Hill Metal.
While providing details of several transactions to the court, he said 1.2 million euros and $10.2m were transferred in his Standard Chartered bank account. Then, the witness said, Rs1.187 billion was transferred in the ex-premier’s account. An amount of Rs59.256m was later transferred in Maryam’s account, he said, adding that Hussain gave £1.5m to his brother Hassan.