Nawaz to testify in Al-Azizia reference today

Updated November 14, 2018

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Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif will testify in the Al-Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment reference before an accountability court here on Wednesday.

Hearing the case on Tuesday, Accountability Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik said he would record the statement of Mr Sharif under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

After recording the testimony, the court would continue cross-examination of the last prosecution witness, Mohammad Kamran, in the Flagship Investment reference.

Mr Sharif would record his statement in the Flagship reference after the defence counsel would conclude cross-examination of the last witness who is the investigation officer of this reference.

As per the charge sheet against the former premier in the Al-Azizia reference, Mr Sharif has been accused of owning assets which are disproportionate to his known sources of income. It says transactions have been carried out between Mr Sharif’s family members and their companies without any plausible explanation and consideration which are utilised for acquisition of assets ostensibly in the name his sons — who are also co-accused in the case — with a purpose to conceal the real source of investment.

It further says that being dependants the co-accused have no independent source of income and in capacity of abettor ostensibly hold the assets on behalf of and for the benefit of Mr Sharif to conceal the actual sources for acquiring the assets which belong to Mr Sharif. “Your Gulf Steel Mills sale agreement was found untrue thereby you accused Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif committed an offence of corruption and corrupt practices as defined under section 9(a)(v) of NAO, 1999, punishable under section 10 of the NAO, 1999. I hereby direct that you be tried by this court,” the charge sheet says.

After recording of the statement, in the last stage, the court would invite both the prosecution and the defence counsel to advance final arguments to conclude the proceedings.

The Supreme Court has set Nov 18 as the deadline for the accountability court to conclude proceedings in the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2018