No witness claims sons as Nawaz Sharif’s dependent

  • NAB officer says don’t know who prepared a financial statement of Hill Metal company

ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court on Monday adjourned hearing of the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference against former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif till today (Tuesday).

The investigation officer of the National Accountability Bureau informed the court that no witness had informed that Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz were dependent of the former prime minister and the accused sent money to them.

Accountability Court judge Arshad Malik conducted hearing over corruption reference against the former prime minister filed by the National Accountability Bureau. The accused could not appear before the court due to his appearance before the Lahore High Court (LHC) bench.

As the hearing began, the lawyer filed a request seeking one-day exemption from hearing to his client and informed the court that Nawaz Sharif was supposed to appear before the LHC bench in person. During cross-examining the investigation officer informed the court that three reminders were sent to the Saudi Arabia government to get a reply of mutual legal assistance (MLA) related to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills.

The lawyer objected over the statement and said that a total of 20 letters were submitted except a letter dated August 21, 2017. There were only two letters inside the envelope received by him, he said. To a query, Mehboob Alam stated that no letter was written to verify the UAE response dated June 28, 2017, in which shifting of the Ahli Steel Mills goods from Dubai to Jeddah was mentioned.

Hussain Nawaz also adopted the stance regarding shifting of the goods, he said. The investigation officer said that there was a difference in goods’ description of the UAE officials and LC, saying that in the response of the mutual legal assistance by the UAE government, the goods’ description was scrap machinery. However, the description was ‘second hand rolling mills equipment’ in accordance with the letter of credit.

Mehboob Alam said that no witness had given a statement regarding the establishment dates of the Hill Metal and the Al-Azizia Steel Mills. In response to a question, he said that he was a graduate and working with NAB since 2007, saying that he had not conducted an investigation into the case that related to such business. He did not know who prepared the financial statement of the Hill Metal company.

Judge Arshad Malik asked the defence counsel to end such questions. To a question, the investigation officer informed the court that there was no name of Nawaz Sharif in the documents that show him as shareholder, director or partner in the Hill Metal Establishment (HME), saying that there was no evidence regarding the role of Nawaz Sharif in purchase agreement of machinery or he applied loan for the company.

He stated that no witness had informed that Hassan and Hussain Nawaz were dependent on the former prime minister and he sent money to his both the sons. The former prime minister did not hold any public officer from 1999 to 2013. Later, the court adjourned the hearing of the case till today, wherein the defence counsel would continue cross-examining of the investigation officer.