ISLAMABAD - The hearing of Al-Azizia corruption reference against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has entered a conclusive phase as Khawaja Harris, defense counsel for Nawaz Sharif, completed his cross-questioning with National Accountability Bureau key witness Wajid Zia on Wednesday.

The Accountability Court on the completion of cross-questioning of Khawaja Harris with Wajid Zia had summoned investigation officer Mehboob Alam, the last witness of the prosecution, the other day.

During yesterday’s hearing, Wajid Zia informed the Accountability Court that as per statement of Hussain Nawaz, 6.5 million pounds were dispatched to Britain from Saudi Arabia. Hussain Nawaz revealed before the Panama JIT that five million pounds were returned in 2006, said Wajid Zia adding that JIT, however, did not get any such evidences, which can refute statement of Hussain Nawaz. He said as per statement of Hussain Nawaz five million pounds were taken back for investment in the Hill Metal Establishment.

Zia also informed the court that Hussain Nawaz mentioned name of the company as Hill Metal in his statement and it is wrong to say that JIT aims at entangling Nawaz Sharif in this case with any intention. He also added that this is wrong to say that JIT submitted its report in Supreme Court without substantial facts and evidences. This is altogether wrong to say that JIT did not make efforts to dig out facts and reality about Hill Metal, said Wajid Zia adding that it will also be wrong to term the Alder Audit Bureau Report as an unverified documentative report.

SC DISMISSES PETITION AGAINST TRANSFER OF SHARIFS CASES

INP adds: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) challenging the Islamabad High Court’s order of transferring two corruption references against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and members of his family to Accountability Court judge Muhammad Arshad Malik.

A bench of the apex court dismissed the petition when a NAB lawyer informed it that the Bureau wanted to withdraw it.

In the petition, the anti-graft watchdog has pleaded the apex court to set aside the IHC decision of transferring the pending corruption cases against the Sharif family from Accountability Court judge Muhammad Bashir to other court.

Judge Muhammad Bashir had awarded 10-year imprisonment to Sharif, seven to his daughter Maryam Nawaz and one year to her spouse Safdar in the Avenfield case, one of the three references filed against the Sharif family by the bureau.

Accountability Court judge Arshad Malik is hearing the two pending references – Al-Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment references against the Sharifs.

PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (Retd) Safdar were released from Adiala prison after an Islamabad High Court bench suspended their sentence and ordered their release on bail.

On Sept 19, a Division Bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb granted a petition filed by the Sharif family seeking suspension of the Avenfield verdict until a final decision on their appeals against the sentence.