Accountability Court adjourns Avenfield hearing till this afternoon

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ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court Thursday reserved its verdict in the supplementary reference over the objections of Nawaz Sharif after hearing his counsel’s arguments.

Former PM Sharif requested the court for exemption from hearing this afternoon when Judge Muhammed Bashir will record the statement of two witnesses living abroad – Forensic expert Robert Radley and Raja Akhtar – through via videolink.

Radley is the principal at the Radley Forensic Document Laboratory and Akhtar Raja is the principal at the Quist Solicitors.

Judge Bashir allowed getting their statements recorded through video link from Pakistan High Commission in London after the NAB informed the court that witnesses are based in London and are unwilling to come to Pakistan due to security reasons.

It was forensic expert Radley that brought to the fore forgery based on Calibri font in trust deeds of two companies, saying the font was not commercially available before January 31, 2007; hence, Sharif family prepared forged documents showing signature of an earlier date.

Adjourning the hearing till 1:30pm today, the court granted exemption to Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz from appearing again today and directed their counsels to appear without fail.

Meantime, the court rejected the exemption plea by Captain (rted.) Safdar, who the court directed to ensure presence in hearing this afternoon.

The Sharif family also requested the court to extend the duration of the trial. The counsel of Nawaz Sharif said the duration stipulated by Supreme Court of Pakistan is about to come to a close; hence, he requested the court to write a letter to the monitoring judge in this regard.

In its earlier hearing, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court directed the head of the Panamagate joint investigation team (JIT) to present original record of the JIT report today.

In its landmark ruling on July 28 last year, the apex court formed the JIT headed by Wajid Zia to probe corruption allegations against the Sharif family. Wajid Zia was Federal Investigation Agency’s Additional Director General.

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Story first published: 22nd February 2018

Originally Posted on SamaaNews

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