Request to record Sharifs’ statement in Avenfield case allowed

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ISLAMABAD : An accountability court in Islamabad on Tuesday turned down objection of the Sharif family’s lawyer on recording the statement of the accused in the Avenfield properties reference.

During the hearing Judge Muhammad Bashir ruled that the statement of former premier Nawaz Sharif and members of his family named in the case could be recorded after testimonies of prosecution witnesses.

Khawaja Haris, the counsel for Sharif, objected that the statement of the accused should not be recorded at this point in time.

NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzafar, however, insisted that as per law the statement of the accused are recorded after testimonies of prosecution witnesses.

He said the defence side’s objection with regard to the statement of the Sharif family is invalid.

Meanwhile, star prosecution witness Wajid Zia, who headed the Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT), completed his statement before the court. The defense lawyer will cross-examine him from today (Wednesday).

At the previous hearing, he could not complete his testimony, therefore, the case was adjourned till may 15.

Zia submitted that the Sharif family did not provide any documents related to the transactions to Jeddah, the UK or Qatar to substantiate their money trail. A spreadsheet was only provided, which too was not verified by the relevant authorities.

Wajid Zia told the court that the spreadsheet was aimed to support the money trail. He said the ruling family sold 75 per cent of the shares of Gulf Steel Mills in 1978, whereas the remaining 25 per cent shares were later sold, which is in sharp contrast to the Sharif family’s claim that the industrial unit had been handed over to the Qatari royals for the investment purpose.

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