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Graft hearing against Sharif family adjourned till Dec 19

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court in Islamabad on Monday adjourned the hearing of the references filed against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, and members of his family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), till December 19.

The former premier and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, didn’t appear before the court as they have been exempted from personal appearance. They are currently in London in connection with the treatment of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz.

Sharif’s son-in-law retired Captain Safdar appeared before the court as it is yet to decide his plea for exemption from personal appearance.

Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir conducted the trial proceedings. Khawaja Haris, Sharif’s lawyer, cross-examined prosecution witness Malik Tayyab Ahmed.

Witness NAB assistant director Adil Akhtar, testified against Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law retired Capt Safdar in the London flats reference, after which Haris cross-examined him.

Nawaz Sharif was granted exemption from personal appearance till December 11, whereas Maryam was granted exemption till Dec 15.

On December 06, the court heard the Azizia Steel Mills graft reference filed by the NAB in compliance with Supreme Court’s landmark July 28 verdict.

Tayyab, who is associated with a private bank, shared the details of Sharif and his sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz’s bank transactions that were carried out over the years.

The witness said Sharif withdrew $2,200 on February 7, 2017, and transferred $600,000 to his Pakistani currency account between March to May 2017.

The prosecution witness also provided details of Sharif family’s accounts in Euro and Pound Currencies.

He said Sharif’s eldest son Hussain transferred £25,000 to his father’s account in December 2010 and the same amount was transferred by Sharif to his Pakistani currency account in 2015.

Ahmed said Sharif had transferred £10 to his Pakistani currency account twice in 2016, adding, Hussain had transferred €1.1 million to Nawaz’s account in 2010 and €40,000 in 2012.

Meanwhile, Sharif issued five cheques worth €900,000 in total and transferred the amount to his Pakistani currency account on September 23, 2010, besides transferring €210,000 in April 2012 and €190,000 in November 2015, the prosecution witness informed the court.

The NAB also filed an application seeking inclusion of documents provided by Noreen Shahzad, who replaced Ahmed as branch manager of a private bank, in the witness record.

To which, Sharif’s counsel Ayisha Hamid asked in what capacity Noreen Shahzad submitted documents to the court while pleading the court to delay the next hearing until it takes a decision regarding Shahzad’s inclusion in the case.

The accountability judge accepted the NAB plea. The court will resume hearing into the reference and recording the statement of NAB witness after reaching a decision on the matter.

Witness Ahmed, an employee of a private bank, informed the judge that Maryam received a cheque of Rs12 million on June 13, 2015, Rs 28.8 million on November 15, 2015, and Rs19.5 million on August 14, 2016.

As the witness was engaged in detailing the bank transactions of Sharifs, the judge then directed recording the statements of two NAB witnesses, Umar Daraz and Mukhtar Ahmed, in the Avenfield and other references.

Subsequently, the witnesses were cross-examined by the defense lawyer.

Meanwhile, the former prime minister’s son-in-law, retired Captain Safdar, moved an application seeking exemption from personal appearance for 15 days. The court is yet to announce its verdict on his request.

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