ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Captain Muhammad Safdar appeared at an accountability court in Islamabad on Tuesday for a hearing into the corruption references filed against them.
Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir presided over the hearing of the references which were filed by the National Accountability Bureau in the wake of the Panama Papers judgement whereby the Supreme Court had sent Nawaz packing.
During the hearing, the regional manager operations of a private bank, Ghulam Mustafa, appeared in court as a witness and recorded his statement. Mustafa told the court that on 22 August, 2017, he had appeared at NAB’s Rawalpindi offices with Yasir Shabir, an officer from a private bank.
Mustafa added that on the occasion, Shabir had presented details of Nawaz’s bank accounts to the investigating officer along with details of the former premier’s transactions.
According to the witness, the investigating officer, after receiving the verified documents, had prepared a seizure memo.
“I did not mention Hill Metal Establishment in my statement recorded before the investigating officer,” Mustafa told the court. “No record of Hill Metal Establishment related to Nawaz Sharif was presented.”
In a recent hearing of the case, a witness from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan had made a similar statement.
On January 9, Sidra Mansoor had told the court that the SECP had found no transactions linking the Sharif family with Al-Azizia Steel or Hill Metal Establishment. During cross-examination, she had confirmed that while Hussain Nawaz was a shareholder in Mehran Ramzan Textile Mills Limited, the company had no connection or transactions with either of the two companies under investigation.
Assistant Director NAB Aziz Rehan, another witness presented by the prosecution on Tuesday, said that Mansoor had appeared before the Bureau on August 25 last year and submitted documents.
The witness confirmed, therefore, what Mansoor had told the court during her testimony that she had recorded a statement before NAB on August 25 and provided documents regarding Mehran Ramzan Textile Mills Limited in relation to Nawaz Sharif, Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz ? the three shareholders in the company.
Rehan added that the seizure memo against Nawaz was prepared by investigating officer Mehboob Alam, who had also recorded Rehan’s statement and asked for his signature on the memo.
Advocate Khawaja Harris, the counsel representing the Sharifs, said he does not want to cross-examine Rehan.
A third witness, Afaq Ahmed, was unable to record his statement yet again as he was unable to retrieve certain documents from the SC.
During the hearing, Harris asked the court to allow the defence time to read the supplementary reference, which was filed against Nawaz, his three children and son-in-law by NAB investigators after they obtained additional evidence under the mutual legal assistance earlier this week.
“NAB has filed a supplementary reference after four months but we are not even being given seven days to read the reference,” Harris said.
At this moment, NAB prosecutor pointed out that the SC had directed that the references against the Sharifs be wrapped up in six months. He said that the witnesses in the supplementary reference should be called in for the next hearing.
The hearing was adjourned until January 30 and two further witnesses were called in to record their statements.