ISLAMABAD: A National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court acquitted on Tuesday former president Asif Ali Zardari in the SGS-Cotecna references against him, Express News reported.
On November 11 Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir reserved the verdict after both parties concluded their arguments over acquittal applications of the Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman in the SGS-Cotecna corruption cases.
SGS and Cotecna references: Verdict to be announced on November 24
SGS – a Swiss inspection, verification, testing and certification company – corruption case is the continuance of a reference filed in 1997 that accused late Benazir Bhutto and her spouse to have gained off a contract between the SGS and the government. Cotecna case is about the award of a contract to the Swiss company after allegedly receiving six per cent bribe on revenue proceeds.
"The court today, has honourably acquitted Asif Ali Zardari, in 18-year-old reference cases for which he had spent eight years in prison," the counsel for the former president, Farooq H Naek said while addressing the media.
Assets reference case against Zardari reopened in Rawalpindi court
Earlier, in his arguments, Naek, reiterated that the real record of both references was not present and only photocopies were present before the court. In such a situation, he said, cases could not be taken forward and his client should be acquitted.
On a previous hearing, the judge had remarked that the record consisted of attested copies asking if the real record of the references could be obtained or be available with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Further, ex deputy chairman NAB Hassan Waseem Afzal, in his statement, earlier said that he himself had gone to Switzerland and brought back the original record of the SGS reference and submitted it in the Lahore High Court. Afzal said that the original documents related to the agreements with the offshore companies and Swiss bank accounts were submitted in the court and the record should have been with the court or NAB.
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