Wajid Zia resumes recording statement in Avenfield properties case

ISLAMABAD: Former Panama case joint investigation team (JIT) head Wajid Zia resumed recording his statement today in the Avenfield properties reference.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif reached the accountability court hearing corruption cases against him and his family earlier today.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed three interim corruption references against the Sharif family in September last year in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case. The bureau recently filed supplementary references in all three cases as well.

Nawaz, daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar have been indicted in the Avenfield reference.
At the last hearing on March 16, Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervez and Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris questioned the legality of the evidence being presented by Zia and objected that they are copies of photocopies and unverified documents.
At an earlier hearing, the judge had also partially approved the plea by Maryam’s counsel to not make the entire JIT report part of the court record, as Zia had contended.

The former JIT head has been recording his statement in the case since the last three hearings. He has also submitted in court several key documents that the JIT acquired during its probe into the Sharif family’s assets.

The cases

The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14, 2017.
The corruption references, filed against the Sharif family, 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 MNA Capt (retd) 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.