Court allows recording of Sharifs’ statements in Avenfield case


–Wajid Zia completes testimony in Al Azizia case

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court in Islamabad on Tuesday turned down objection of the Sharif family’s lawyer on recording the statement of the accused in the Avenfield properties reference.

During the hearing, Judge Muhammad Bashir ruled that the statement of former premier Nawaz Sharif and members of his family named in the case could be recorded after testimonies of the prosecution witnesses.

Khawaja Harris, the counsel for Sharif, objected that the statement of the accused should not be recorded at this point in time. NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar, however, insisted that as per law the statements of the accused are recorded after testimonies of prosecution witnesses. He said the defence side’s objection with regard to the statement of the Sharif family is invalid.

Meanwhile, star prosecution witness Wajid Zia, who headed the Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT), completed his statement before the court. The defence lawyer will cross-examine him from Wednesday.

At the previous hearing, he could not complete his testimony.

On Monday, Zia told the accountability court hearing the Al Azizia Steel Mills reference that all the documents submitted by the Sharif family for the Avenfield apartments reference, including documents of funds for all other businesses, were forged.

Zia had informed the court that the Sharif siblings — Hassan Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz and Maryam Nawaz — submitted forged documents during the interrogation and added that the amount obtained from the Gulf Steel Mill was never sent to Jeddah, Qatar or Britain.

While recording his statement, he had said that Hussain Nawaz, in his statement to the JIT, stated that the machinery of Gulf Steel Mills in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was shifted to Jeddah in 50-60 trucks and that the same machinery was installed in Al-Azizia Steel mills. The JIT had written a letter to the concerned UAE authorities to confirm the Sharif family’s claims pertaining to the selling of the Gulf Steel Mill, he said, adding that UAE termed the selling of 25 per cent of Gulf Steel Mills shares erroneous.