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Tuesday Apr 17 2018

Avenfield case: Maryam's counsel concludes Wajid Zia's cross-examination

A file photo of the Federal Judicial Complex where the court is situated. 

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court hearing the Avenfield properties reference against the Sharif family resumed its proceedings today.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Muhammad Safdar appeared in court today after skipping the last two hearings as they were unable to depart from Lahore owing to inclement weather. 

Maryam's counsel Amjad Pervez resumed his cross-examination of Wajid Zia, an additional director at the Federal Investigation Agency who headed the Panama case joint investigation team (JIT) which probed the Sharif family’s assets last year.

Zia informed the court today about the various correspondence of the JIT with regards to the London flats. 

Later, Pervez concluded his cross-examination of the 'star witness'. 

During the hearing, the prosecution's request to submit as evidence three MLAs [mutual legal assistance] produced by Zia today was dismissed.  

Moreover, NAB filed another request in court today to submit the JIT's correspondence with the British government. The court issued notices to the defence and sought replies.

Later, the hearing of the Avenfield case was adjourned until April 20 whereas Zia was summoned to record his statement in the Al Azizia Steel Mills reference on April 23.  

Avenfield reference

The Avenfield properties reference is among three filed against Nawaz and his family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last year on the Supreme Court's directives.

Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir, who has been conducting corruption proceedings against the Sharif family since September last year, is presiding over the case.

Last Wednesday, Nawaz's counsel Khawaja Haris concluded, on the tenth day, Zia's cross-examination in the Avenfield case.

After Haris concluded his cross-examination, Maryam's counsel began his cross-examination.

The cases

The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14, 2017.

NAB to file three supplementary references against Nawaz

The corruption references, filed against the Sharifs, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.

Nawaz and sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar are 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. 


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