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Avenfield reference: Wajid Zia presents ‘evidence’ in court

ISLAMABAD: Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (r) Safdar appeared before an accountability court on Tuesday where Judge Muhmmad Bashir resumed hearing of the Avenfield Apartments reference wherein the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) head, Wajid Zia, recorded his statement against the Sharif family.

According to media reports, Zia presented several documents, including the iqama (work permit) of Nawaz, flow charts of the offshore companies owned by the Sharif family, transaction statements of numerous companies, the trust deeds of Nielsen, Nescol and Coomber Group, the reply of UAE Embassy and Robert Redly’s forensic report on Calibri font.

Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer, Amjad Pervez Advocate, expressed his reservations regarding the documents, saying that the Jabal Ali Free Zone Authority documents were not attested by the notary public and diplomatic agent. Hence, these documents should not even be part of the courtroom record.

In the last hearing on March 16, Zia produced an ‘original’ letter of Qatari Prince Muhammad Bin Jasim al Thani obtained from the SC in a sealed envelope before the court to match with one of the photocopies of the prince’s letter he produced on March 15. However, it turned out to be different than the one submitted by the JIT chief a day earlier.

Amjad Pervaiz, counsel for Maryam and Safdar, then raised objection over the admissibility of another letter by the Qatari prince. Subsequently, the court did not allow the letter to be exhibited as evidence and directed Zia to submit an application if he wanted to submit the letter as new evidence.

Zia and the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) prosecution team simply took back the letter after noting the development in day’s proceedings on defence counsel Pervaiz and Khawaja Haris’ request. Zia also presented several documents, including draft of the agreement held between Al Taufiq Company and Hudabiya Paper Mills, land registry of London flats and Nescol Company.

The court made the land registry of the Nelson and Nescol related to the London flat part of the judicial record with defence counsels’ objections.

During the hearing, defence counsels continued to raise objections on the documents, including on the applications of the Sharif family and expert’s opinion produced before the SC by other parties during the hearing of Panamagate last year, by Zia as they were either photocopies, photocopies of the photocopies, ‘irrelevant’ or not authored and collected by Zia.

In addition, certain documents were found different in terms of missing or carrying additional details in the copies available with the court, NAB and respondents. Some of the documents did not contain noting, stamps, signatures and one document had some missing pages.

NAB prosecutor Afzal Qureshi said the contents were same but the court said the documents should have been exactly the same with all the parties in all the documents. Qureshi said that the NAB office had provided copies and mistakenly pages were missing from one file, adding that the court might exhibit the document and NAB would provide the documents later on.

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