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Nawaz to record testimony in last NAB reference on Monday

Nawaz to record testimony in last NAB reference on Monday

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif would record his testimony in the third and last reference against him, which is related to Flagship Investment and other companies, on Monday.

The accountability court has handed over a questionnaire comprising 140 questions to Mr Sharif.

The court, however, has asked the special prosecutor in the Al-Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment reference to continue final arguments on Dec 3 as well.

Accountability Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik initially shared 62 questions with Mr Sharif. However, on the request of lead defence counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed, the judge provided the former prime minister the complete questionnaire.

The defence counsel had told the court that his client had to go through the record to respond to the questions.

Meanwhile, the special prosecutor of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Wasiq Malik, continued with the final arguments in the Al-Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment (HME) reference.

He informed the court that despite serving summons, Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani did not appear before the joint investigation team (JIT) to record his statement and to verify the authenticity of money trail, which the Sharif family’s members presented before the court to justify their assets in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.

Mr Sharif rose to the rostrum and said the special prosecutor was trying to mislead the court.

The judge, however, asked the prosecutor to carry on with the arguments.

Mr Sharif again addressed the court when the prosecutor was sharing the details of amount remitted to the former prime minister by his son.

Mr Sharif told the court that it was an honour for a son if he could send something to his parents. He asked was it a crime if his sons had deposited some amount in his account and whether it could be used as evidence to substantiate the claim of ownership of their business.

Mr Sharif said after his family’s industries had been nationalised by the government of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, his father, Mian Mohammad Sharif, established Gulf Steel Mills (GSM). The Sharif family acquired assets from legitimate income, he said, adding the court should thoroughly examine the reference before moving ahead.

He said if the prosecution claimed that he was the owner of companies of his sons, it should present any document to substantiate its claim.

The judge remarked that the court would provide Mr Sharif an opportunity to rebut these arguments and to explain anything about the money trail while recording his statement under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

The special prosecutor said that in the cases where assets were acquired through benamidars (fictitious owner) one should examine the real beneficiary of those businesses or benami properties. He claimed that Mr Sharif transferred Rs800 million to the account of his daughter Maryam Nawaz that was remitted to him by his son.

The judge asked: “Is giving an amount to his daughter an offence?”

“Certainly, it is not a crime, but our case is that Mr Sharif is the beneficial owner of HME,” replied the special prosecutor.

The judge asked why Mr Sharif’s son Hussain Nawaz was not shown as self-sustaining and why he was dependent upon his grandfather and took money from his grandparents to meet his day-to-day expenses.

The prosecutor replied that Hussain Nawaz had owned nothing and he was dependent from the very outset.