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Thursday Nov 29 2018

Prosecution presents final arguments in Al-Azizia reference against Nawaz


ISLAMABAD: The prosecution began presenting its final arguments on Thursday in the Al-Azizia corruption reference against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Accountability Court Judge Arshad Malik resumed hearing the Al-Azizia reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the former premier.

NAB prosecutor Wasiq Malik told the court that the Al-Azizia corruption reference could be traced back to the Panama Papers case, which was heard by the Supreme Court. This was a white-collar crime and hence this case should be viewed in accordance with a special law, he said.

The prosecutor said that Nawaz could not account for his assets before the Supreme Court, the joint investigation team and NAB and he admitted to these assets before the apex court for the first time. The accused were given all the opportunity to defend their case but they could not satisfy the court, Malik added.

The money trail presented in the case proved to be fake, the NAB prosecutor continued, adding that the assets had been acknowledged. Nawaz served as a public office holder and his children own billions of rupees worth of assets; the question remains: how were these assets acquired? Malik questioned.

The prosecutor said in his arguments that evidences show that Nawaz has connection with the assets and he earned a profit worth over one billion rupees. 97 per cent of the profit earned from the Hill Metal Steel Mills was sent back to Pakistan; even when the profit was less, more money was being sent here, Malik argued.

The court, upon hearing this, inquired whether this amount was still present in the bank account, to which the prosecutor replied that the amount was not frozen and now only a little amount is present in the account. 

It is worth noting that the Supreme Court on November 19 gave the accountability court three more weeks to conclude the Al-Azizia case.