NAB officers, judges must not meet privately: counsel

ISLAMABADExpressing concern over the meeting of key NAB officials with two accountability court judges hearing references against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Sharif’s counsel on Friday said that such meetings should be avoided.Referring to media reports about Accountability Court Judges Muahammad Bashir and Muhammad Arshad Malik meeting with DG NAB Rawalpindi on October 4, he said that the meeting was held just as Judge Malik took up NAB’s Al-Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment reference against Sharif and his sons on Friday.Haris said that it would have been better if such meetings were avoided, especially under the current circumstances.Meanwhile, Judge Malik maintained that he had summoned Mangi on Wednesday, but he could not spare time to meet him because of his other engagements. The judge said that he had summoned Mangi again on Thursday for discussing some crucial issues, including the remand of the accused.Surprisingly, Mangi had contended on Thursday that the meeting was a routine one and they had discussed various issues, including the matter of insufficient office space for NAB lawyers in the building which had no air-conditioning unit.Answering another question, he had said that Panama references had not been discussed during the meeting.“Panama case is over now. We are not even witnesses in the references anymore,” Mangi said in response to another question. “Whatever needs to be done is to be done by the courts,” he had said.Meanwhile, Haris also complained about the misbehaviour of NAB’s senior prosecutor Muhammad Akram Qureshi, saying that some of his remarks targeting the defence counsel, Ayesha Hamid, were derogatory.

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He insisted that the prosecution team should confine itself to legal points instead of passing political remarks.Later, he continued cross-examining NAB’s investigator in Azizia & HME, Mehboob Alam. During the cross-examination, Haris asked if Mutual Legal Assistance requests had been sent to the UAE and Saudi Arabian.At one point, Alam admitted that except for questioning Tariq Shafi, he did not record statements of any of other parties about an agreement signed on April 14, 1980, relating to the sale of 25 per cent shares of Ahli Steel Mills.

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Sharifs maintained that the proceeds of the sale were invested with the Qatari royal family and later on London flats were bought after arriving at a final settlement with the Qatari royalty in 2006.Alam also admitted that Muhammad Abdullah Kayed Ahli, who was one of the signatories to the 1980 agreement, had not been associated with the investigation.Other parties concerned with the agreement had also not been summoned during the investigation.“I did not make any effort during my investigation to verify the agreement from Pakistan’s consul-general in the UAE,” he conceded.

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