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Monday May 07 2018

Avenfield case: Cross-examination of last prosecution witness concludes


ISLAMABAD: The last prosecution witness in the Avenfield properties reference against former premier Nawaz Sharif and his family concluded his testimony in the accountability court today.

National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) investigation officer Imran Dogar was cross-examined by Maryam's counsel Amjad Pervez today. 

Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir is hearing the Avenfield properties reference against Nawaz, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar. 

Nawaz arrived at the accountability court whereas Maryam and her husband did not appear and submitted exemption requests through their counsel. 

As the hearing went under way, Maryam's counsel began the cross-examination of Dogar, who is the last prosecution witness. 

Later, Nawaz was allowed to leave the courtroom. 

During his cross-examination, Dogar informed the court of NAB's procedure of inquiries and investigations, as well as lodging of references in court.

Moreover, he informed the court that the interim investigation report of the Avenfield case was prepared on September 6 last year. 

Dogar also stated that he had no role in the work of the Panama Papers case Joint Investigation Team. 

Later, Pervez concluded his cross-examination after which the hearing was adjourned until 11:30am tomorrow. 

The prosecutor said he will give a statement in court tomorrow on the conclusion of arguments and presentation of evidence.

The court, responding to Pervez's query, directed that the accused do not need to appear in court at the next hearing, 

Nawaz and his family are facing three corruption cases in the accountability court after the NAB filed references against them in light of the Supreme Court's verdict in the Panama Papers case.

The cases

The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14, 2017 with a six-month deadline.

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.

The court originally had a deadline of six months which ended in mid-March but was extended for two months after the judge requested the apex court. 

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