ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer Khawaja Haris continued cross-examination of key prosecution witness Wajid Zia in the Al-Azizia corruption reference on Thursday.
Accountability Court-II Judge Arshad Malik presided over the case. Nawaz was exempted from appearing before the court for the hearing as the incarcerated former premier meets close family members and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders in the jail on Thursdays.
As the hearing went underway, Zia, the head of the Panama Papers joint investigation team, apprised the court that the report under question was made on the basis of the financial statements that were not audited by Aldar Audit Bureau. “The JIT did not contact any officer of the Aldar Audit Bureau to obtain financial statements,” he said.
“The Aldar audit report for Nawaz Sharif’s son Hussain is from 2010-2014. Contact details of the person who has prepared the report are present in the document,” Zia told the court.
Haris then questioned Zia about the date when Hill Metal Establishment became operational. In response, the latter said he could only answer the question after looking at the record. The judge then announced a short recess.
After the hearing was resumed, the defence lawyer continued to cross-question the prosecution witness regarding the Hill Metal Establishment.
During the proceedings, the NAB Prosecutor Wasiq Malik and Haris got into a heated debate.
After the defence lawyer stopped Malik from interrupting, the NAB prosecutor responded by saying that he and his witness were talking to each other and not Haris. Judge Malik then remarked that the prosecutor and his witness should step back when speaking to one another.
The reference was then adjourned till September 6.
The trial against the Sharif family commenced on September 14, 2017.
On July 6, after four extensions in the original six-month deadline to conclude all three cases, the court announced its verdict in the Avenfield reference.
Nawaz and his sons, Hussain and Hasan, are accused in all three references whereas Maryam and Safdar were 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.
On July 10, the Supreme Court granted another six-week extension for Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir to conclude the remaining corruption references against Nawaz and former finance minister Ishaq Dar.