Corruption hearing against Nawaz, family adjourned after counsel's no-show


ISLAMABAD: The accountability court conducting corruption proceedings against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family had to adjourn its proceedings today owing to the absence of the defence counsel. 

As the hearing went under way, Nawaz, daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar appeared in court but the hearing was adjourned until 2pm today owing to the absence of lead defence counsel Khwaja Haris. 

However, as Harris did not appear in court till the stated time, the hearing was adjourned until 2pm tomorrow (Wednesday). 

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed three corruption references against the Sharif family in September last year in light of the Supreme Court's July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case. The references pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.

Four prosecution witnesses in the Avenfield reference were slated to record their statements today. Moreover, the date for recording statements of two UK-based witnesses was also to be determined today. 

At the last hearing on Friday, the court approved NAB's plea to record statements of the two UK-based witnesses via video link in the Avenfield reference.

In the Avenfield case, wherein Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar stand accused, NAB had submitted on January 22 a supplementary reference revealing new evidence and witnesses — including two UK-based individuals.

At the Jan 30 hearing, Nawaz's counsel Khawaja Harris had objected to the NAB's supplementary reference in the Avenfield case, arguing that there is nothing new in it.

However, Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir turned down his request to dismiss the supplementary reference and approved it for hearing.