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Nawaz Sharif testifies in Al-Azizia corruption reference

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif arrived at the accountability court this morning and testified in the Al-Azizia corruption reference hearing, ARY News reported.

Judge Arshad Malik is chairing the proceedings of the case.

Nawaz Sharif has been given a questionnaire comprising 50 questions related to the Al-Azizia corruption case. His lawyer during the court proceedings yesterday sought further time so his client could prepare to answer the queries.

Mr Sharif began recording his statement in the Al-Azizia reference after the defence counsel concluded cross-examination of the last witness who is the investigation officer of the reference.

According to the charge sheet against the former premier in the Al-Azizia reference, Mr Sharif has been accused of owning assets which are disproportionate to his known sources of income. It says transactions have been carried out between Mr Sharif’s family members and their companies without any plausible explanation and consideration.

The Supreme Court had given Nov 17 deadline to wind up references of Al Azizia and Flagship Investment, however, reports surfaced yesterday that the court may seek further extension in time to conclude cases.

The reference has entered in decisive phase after prosecution witness, the Panama JIT Head, Wajid Zia, completed his testimony in the reference. The court has already closed evidence in the Al-Azizia reference and in the current stage former premier will record his statement under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code after which the prosecution as well as the defence counsel will begin their final arguments.

The National Accountability Bureau had filed three references on Sept 8, 2017 against Mr Sharif and his family, and another reference against former finance minister Ishaq Dar. The three references against the Sharif family are related to the Flagship Investment Ltd, the Avenfield (London) properties and Al-Azizia Company and Hill Metal Establishment.

On July 28 last year, the Supreme Court had disqualified Mr Sharif from holding the office of prime minister and also directed NAB to file four references against the Sharif family and Mr Dar in a trial court within six weeks.

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