ISLAMABAD: The accountability court on Thursday rejected an objection raised by the counsel of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif that the bank details recently submitted by Noreen Shahzad, branch manager of Standard Chartered Bank who was not included in the list of prosecution witnesses, could not be made part of the case record.

Judge Muhammad Bashir after hearing the counsel of Nawaz Sharif and National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) prosecutor rejected the objection and made the newly submitted bank details of the ousted premier’s accounts as part of the case record.

The court continued hearing in Al-Azizia Steel Mills (Pvt) Ltd and Hill Metals Establishments references filed by NAB against the ousted premier and his children Hassan and Hussain Nawaz.

Advocate Ayesha Hamid, an associate of Khawaja Haris Ahmad, senior counsel for Nawaz Sharif and his sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, appeared before the court.

Nawaz Sharif, who has been exempted from personal appearance by the court till December 11, was represented by his pleader Zaafir Khan Tareen.

She contended before the court that the name of Noreen Shahzad was not included in the list of witnesses earlier provided by the NAB to the court as well as the defence counsels, thus she could neither be included in the witness box nor the documents submitted by her could be made part of the case record.

The NAB prosecutor, however, contended that Noreen Shahzad was not being produced as a witness, rather she had just submitted the bank record as she had replaced Malik Tayyab Ahmad as branch manager and was the custodian of the record now. He stated that only Malik Tayyab Ahmad will remain the principal witness in the case.

During the proceedings, details of Nawaz Sharif’s local and foreign currency accounts were presented before the court. Continuing to record his statement before the court for the fourth consecutive day, Malik Tayyab Ahmad, an employee of the Standard Chartered Bank, stated that a sum of Rs 1.19 billion was transferred in the account of Nawaz Sharif during 2010 to 2017.

He said in 2017, the account of Nawaz Sharif had a balance of 7,568 Euros and $200,000. He said Nawaz Sharif withdrew $2,200 on February 7, 2017 and transferred $600,000 to his Pakistani currency account between March to May 2017.

He stated that Hussain Nawaz transferred £25,000 to the account of his father in December 2010, whereas Nawaz Sharif transferred £25,000 to his Pakistani currency account in Sep 2015. He stated that Hussain had transferred €1.1 million and €40,000 to the account of his father in 2010 and 2012 respectively.

He further stated that Nawaz Sharif also transferred an amount of €900,000 to his Pakistani currency account in September 2010 through five cheques. He said Nawaz Sharif transferred €210,000 and €190,000 to his Pakistani currency account in April 2012 and November 2015 respectively.

Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing until December 11, when Nawaz Sharif’s counsels will cross-examine the prosecution witness Malik Tayyab Ahmad.

Earlier on Tuesday, Malik Tayyab had stated that Maryam Nawaz received three cheques from Nawaz Sharif’s account of Rs 12 million, 28.8 million and Rs 19.5 million on June 13, 2015, November 15, 2015 and August 14, 2016, respectively.

The Supreme Court in its July 28, 2017, verdict in the Panama Papers case had disqualified Nawaz Sharif as prime minister and directed NAB to file references against him and his children in six weeks while the accountability court was directed to decide the references within six months.

On Sep 8, 2017, NAB had filed three references against Nawaz Sharif and his family members, besides one against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

The three references against the Sharif family are related to the Flagship Investment Ltd, Avenfield (London) properties and Jeddah-based Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishments.

The former premier and his sons, Hassan and Hussain, have been named in all the three references, whereas Maryam and Safdar have been named only in the Avenfield reference.

Published in Daily Times, December 8th 2017.

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