ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday concluded cross-examination of witnesses in the Al-Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment (HME) reference against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his two sons. All 22 witnesses finished recording their statements in the case.
After completing the cross-examination, NAB investigation officer Mehboob Alam asked the court to direct Sharif to record his statement in the reference, instead of directing Wajid Zia, the head of the Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT), to testify.
Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris, however, said he would not take part in the proceedings if such a direction was passed. He pointed out that it had been earlier decided that the court would continue hearing both the Al-Azizia and Flagship references simultaneously.
Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik, who wrote a letter to the Supreme Court, seeking more time for concluding the two references, remarked that he would decide about the future course of action keeping in view the time granted by the apex court.
Haris had completed Alam’s cross-examination during the sixth hearing after he had recorded his statement. During the cross-examination, Alam had admitted that Sharif had never claimed the owner of the two companies i.e. Azizia & HME.
He had also admitted that none of the beneficiaries of the assets were investigated or associated in the investigation. He said he had not recorded the statement of any person with knowledge about the distribution of shares in the companies owned by the Sharif family.
Alam had also conceded that Sharif and his brother Shehbaz Sharif, currently in the NAB custody in connection with a housing scam, had informed the Panamagate JIT that their father used to bear the expenses of Hussain Nawaz, Hassan Nawaz and Hamza Shehbaz.
Alam said that no witness had said that Hussain and Hassan supported Sharif in establishing the HME and no witness said anything about when the Al-Azizia Steel Mill had been established, or how the funding was sponsored.
He said nobody from Chaudhry Sugar Mills, Hudaibiya Mills and other companies in question, who had any knowledge in this regard, were included in the investigation.
Following the cross-examination, the court adjourned the hearing till today (Thursday).