LAHORE: An accountability court in Lahore has recorded testimonies of two witnesses in Ashiana housing scam case today,
The hearing of Ashiana housing scam case was conducted by judge Amjad Nazir Chaudhry, whereas, the accused including Shehbaz Sharif, Ahad Cheema and Shahid Shafiq were produced before the accountability court.
Two witnesses, Moiz Ahmed and Rizwan Haider have recorded their testimonies in the courtroom.
During the hearing, Shehbaz Sharif sought permission from the court to go back after registering his attendance. However, the judge rejected to permit him for leaving the court. The judge remarked that it would be a different scenario if the accused was on bail, but he is currently in judicial custody.
The accused could not be given the facility as it is a legal requirement to record testimonies of witnesses in his presence, the judge remarked.
Later, the court recorded statements of the witnesses and summoned more witnesses in the next hearing.The hearing was adjourned till February 11.
In the NAB reference Shehbaz Sharif, had been accused of misusing his authority to illegally issue directives for cancellation of contract with regard to the housing project in 2014.
In March 2014, the former chief minister had visited the Ashiana-e-Iqbal project site and halted its bidding process, according to the reference.
The Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) was looking after the project, but Mr Sharif after visiting the site decided to assign the project to the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) which resulted in award of contract to the Lahore Casa Developers (JV), causing Rs715m loss to the exchequer, the reference reads.
The NAB had arrested Shehbaz Sharif in the scam on October 5, 2018 inside its Lahore office when he appeared there in response to it’s summon for questioning in connection with a probe into the Saaf Pani Company scam.
According to NAB, “the contract for the housing scheme was won by a construction company titled Chaudhry Latif and Sons but former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif and his aides awarded the Rs 14 billion contract to Lahore Casa Developers – a proxy group of Paragon City (Pvt) Limited, which is said to be owned by then Railways Minister Saad Rafique”.