ISLAMABAD - The National Accountability Bureau yesterday resubmitted a petition before the Islamabad High Court challenging former president Asif Ali Zardari’s acquittal in two corruption references by an accountability court.
Additional Deputy Prosecutor General (ADPG) NAB Chaudhry Riaz submitted the appeal in the IHC against Asif Zardari’s acquittal in the SGS and Cotecna corruption cases.
The NAB requested the high court to declare the decision of the trial court null and void, submitting that it had given the decision in haste without assessing the gravity of the offence of the accused.
The NAB prosecutor contended that the court’s decision was based on presumptions and conjectures which had no value in the eyes of the law.
Therefore, he prayed to the court to set aside the impugned order dated November 24 in which judge Muhammad Bashir exonerated former president Asif Ali Zardari from the charges of using official position for monetary benefits in the 1998 SGS and Cotecna corruption reference.
Chaudhary Riaz further prayed to the court that the accused may be sentenced in accordance with the law and for the larger interest of justice as overwhelming evidence is available against him.
The NAB also highlighted in the appeal that the LHC’s deputy registrar judicial in a letter dated Feb 19, 2000, explicitly stated that the Ehtesab Bench sent the original record and all the related documents to the Supreme Court in another appeal filed by the accused seeking acquittal in this case. However, instead of summoning the original record from the superior judiciary, the trial court opted to reject the appeal.
The prosecutor adopted that without summoning the original record and documents from the apex court, the accountability court proceeded to pass the acquittal order on an application moved by the accused under Section 265-K of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) which empowers the trial court to exonerate the accused at any stage.
Zardari was acquitted by a NAB court in the SGS and Cotecna corruption references on November 24 following an application filed under section 265-K.
The SGS-Cotecna reference pertains to the award of pre-shipment contract in which the accused had allegedly received six per cent kickback.
The court said the former Federal Board of Revenue chairman AR Siddiqui had already been acquitted in the case and questioned prolonging the case against Zardari.
In its decision, the NAB court said the accountability body was unable to provide solid evidence and that the documents presented in the court were incomplete and in the form of photocopies rather than original documents.
Asif Zardari had filed applications with the accountability court Islamabad seeking acquittal in the SGS and Cotecna corruption cases in Feb 2015.