General

Wajid Zia to resume recording statement in Al Azizia reference

Federal Investigation Agency Additional Director Wajid Zia will continue recording his statement in the Al Azizia reference against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif today.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif will appear before the Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir.
Nawaz and his family are facing three corruption cases—Al Azizia, Avenfield and Flagship— in the accountability court after NAB filed references against them in light of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case last year.
Zia, who headed the Panama case Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that probed the Sharif family’s assets last year, has already testified in the Avenfield properties reference.
On Friday, Zia presented details of cheques given by the former premier to his daughter Maryam. On March 27, Nawaz gave Maryam a cheque of Rs40 million, on February 14 one of Rs5 million and a Rs37 million cheque on May 10, 2016, he stated.
The hearing was then adjourned until Monday when Zia will continue recording his statement.
On Wednesday, hearing the Avenfield reference, Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir had remarked that the decisions on all three references against the accused will be given together.
The corruption cases
The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14, 2017 with a six-month deadline.
The corruption references, filed against the Sharifs, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.
NAB had earlier filed interim references in all three cases and later added supplementary references to them with new evidence and witnesses.
Nawaz and sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only.
The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.
The court originally had a deadline of six months which ended in mid-March but was extended for two months after the judge requested the apex court.
Later, on May 9, the trial court’s second plea for a deadline extension was approved by the Supreme Court which gave a month to both sides to finish the corruption cases.