ISLAMABAD: An accountability court has resumed hearing into Al-Azizia Steel Mills, and Flagship Investment references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif today (Monday).
Sharif arrived to the court and will record his statement in response to remaining questions in the graft reference.
The Supreme Court had given Nov 18 deadline to wrap up the cases, however, it the sixth time the accountability court sought further extension to wind up both the cases filed by NAB.
The investigation officer of National Accountability Bureau, Muhammad Kamran, also appeared before the court. After Mr. Sharif completes recording his statement, the lawyer of ex-PM, Khawaja Haris, will cross examine the investigation officer.
In the last hearing on Nov 15, Nawaz Sharif disassociated himself from the letters of Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani’s, which the Sharif family had submitted as an evidence during the proceedings of Panama case last year.
While recording his statement before the accountability court in the Al-Azizia corruption reference hearing, Nawaz said, “I have no relation with the Qatari prince’s letters.”
During the hearing today, the former PM appeared to give answers to the court’s questionnaire and told the court that he was sent into exile with his family in the year 2000, to which Judge Arshad Malik asked, “Did you have an amount while you were leaving the country?”
Mr. Sharif had submitted answers of 44 questions out of total 50 in the reference yesterday (Wednesday). He said remaining questions were complicated in nature hence he needed further examination before filing an answer.
According to 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.
The National Accountability Bureau had filed three references on Sept 8, 2017 against Mr Sharif and his family, and another reference against former finance minister Ishaq Dar. The three references against the Sharif family are related to the Flagship Investment Ltd, the Avenfield (London) properties and Al-Azizia Company and Hill Metal Establishment.
On July 28 last year, the Supreme Court had disqualified Mr Sharif from holding the office of prime minister and also directed NAB to file four references against the Sharif family and Mr Dar in a trial court within six weeks.