KARACHI: An accountability court deferred on Wednesday the indictment of former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain and others in a corruption case of around Rs17 billion after the defence complained of still not having received prosecution documents.
The sharing of evidence with the defence is a mandatory process under the Criminal Procedure Code before the framing of charges, which formally initiates the trial. Accountability judge Saad Qureshi adjourned the hearing till April 29 and directed the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) prosecutor and investigator to sort out the differences with the defence team and provide them necessary documents.
It is the core of a fair trial that the accused be given the complete opportunity to defend himself, the judge remarked, while ordering the NAB to bring on record the emails mentioned in the reference against Dr Asim.
This is the second time in this month that the indictment has been deferred due to the reason.
The NAB reference, filed on March 5 this year, revolves around illegal award of contracts to a private gas processing company, Jamshoro Joint Venture Limited (JJVL).
According to the NAB, the private firm was allowed to process gas from five fields in lower Sindh without conducting following procedure.
A loss of Rs17.338 billion was inflicted upon the public exchequer, the anti-graft watchdog states in the reference. JJVL’s CEO Iqbal Z Ahmed is among several serving and former officials of the Sui Southern Gas Company and Oil and Gas Development Company Limited that have been nominated in the reference.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2016.