ISLAMABAD: The accountability court on Thursday rejected the objections raised by the counsel of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif against a prosecution witness in a corruption reference filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
The details of Nawaz’s local currency accounts were also presented in the court.
Judge Mohammad Bashir was conducting the hearing into the Al Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment reference.
The reference has been filed in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 Panama Papers verdict, in which a five-member bench of the apex court had directed NAB to file references against Nawaz and his children in six weeks in the accountability court and had directed the trial court to decide the references within six months.
Defence counsel Khawaja Harris’ assistant Ayesha Hamid represented him in the court on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the court had heard NAB’s plea to include documents provided by Noreen Shahzad — who replaced prosecution witness Malik Tayyab as branch manager of Standard Chartered Bank — in the case record.
Hamid had objected to the request, saying that since Shahzad’s name is not on the witness list, documents provided by her cannot be counted as evidence.
As the hearing went underway on Thursday, Nawaz’s counsel Ayesha Hamid objected to the inclusion of Noreen Shahzad in the witness list, saying she was not included in the list of witnesses by NAB. She pleaded that the documents submitted by Shahzad cannot be made part of the case.
The court after hearing arguments from both sides on Thursday rejected the objections raised by Hamid against Shahzad’s status.
The judge ordered that documents presented by Shahzad be made a part of the case record.
The NAB prosecutor argued that Shahzad is now the manager of the bank where Tayyab was earlier employed. He said Shahzad too has presented documents concerning Nawaz Sharif’s bank accounts.
“Shahzad did not appear as a witness and only provided records, however, Tayyab Ahmed is the main witness,” argued the NAB prosecutor.
The judge then reserved his plea on Nawaz’s counsel’s objection.
Announcing his decision later, the court dismissed the plea and included the documents presented by Shahzad into the case.
Later, the court recorded the statement of Tayyab, the witness. The defence lawyer will argue on his testimony at the next hearing.
According to documents presented by Tayyab, Rs1.19 billion were transferred to Sharif’s account at different times between 2010 and 2017.
Sharif’s account contained 7,568 Euros and $200,000 in August 2017, the documents said.
The hearing of the case was adjourned until Dec 11.
Sharif, who is in London, was represented by Zaafir Khan Tareen before the court.
NAB had filed three references on Sept 8 against Sharif and his family, and another reference against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. The three references against the Sharif family are related to the Flagship Investment Ltd, the Avenfield (London) properties and Jeddah-based Al-Azizia Company and Hill Metal Establishment.
The former premier and his sons, Hassan and Hussain, have been named in all three NAB references, while Maryam and husband Safdar have been named only in the Avenfield reference.