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Avenfield corruption case: Maryam Nawaz’s counsel to cross-examine JIT head today

ISLAMABAD: As Nawaz Sharif’s counsel wrapped up cross-examination of Panama Papers JIT head Wajid Zia during the hearing on Wednesday, another defence counsel will now grill Mr. Zia in Avenfield corruption reference against Sharif family today.

Legal counsel for Maryam Nawaz and Captain (R) Muhammad Safdar, Amjad Pervez advocate will resume cross-examination of Zia at the accountability court for the second day regarding report of Gilead Cooper. Yesterday, JIT head Wajid Zia when questioned about a report of a UK based law firm, Gilead Cooper QC as to who procured this report, he expressed ignorance about it.

The Avenfield Properties reference says that Sharif, his brood and his son-in-law, retired Captain Mohammad Safdar, had purchased four flats in Park Lane, UK, without legitimate financial means.

Here’s what happened at the courtroom yesterday

At the outset of hearing, a NAB prosecutor objected that the counsel was posing irrelevant questions to the witness and asked the judge to restrain him from doing so.

A day earlier, Zia testified that Sharif informed the JIT that he never ran the affairs of any company, nor had he been beneficiary of Nelson and Nescol or any other company, nor was he involved in any transaction whatsoever.

He conceded that the Panama JIT gathered documentary evidence related to Sharif’s employment without completing the legal formality of preparing recovery and possession memos.

The JIT quoted the former premier as saying that late Mian Muhammad Sharif would bear the expenses of his sons – Hussain and Hassan Nawaz and that it was his decision to provide the family’s holdings and pocket money to members of the family.

Haris asked Zia if he shared the JIT report with Quist Services, a law firm whose services the JIT had hired in connection with a probe into the Sharif family’s wealth, to which he replied only witnesses statement were shared with it.

NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar objected that the defence counsel has been cross-examining the witness about the admitted facts of the case for three days.

The accused person had already accepted documents about Capital FZE chairmanship, and an Iqama, whereas he didn’t admit to having received a salary from the company, he said.

The prosecutor said the counsel couldn’t pose questions about such admitted facts, and accused him of trying to prolong the trial proceedings.

Upon this, defence counsel Haris asked why did the NAB incorporated the documents about Capital FZE in the case. He said he will not ask questions about the documents, if these are not made part of the case.

The former premier was disqualified by the Supreme Court on July 28, 2017 for not declaring stashing wealth beyond known sources of income.

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