Zardari Corruption Reference Hearing Adjourned Until Jan 18

Zardari Corruption Reference Hearing

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court in Islamabad adjourned the hearing of the corruption references filed against former president Asif Ali Zardari until Jan 18 after he made a brief appearance before the bench hearing the case on Thursday, DawnNews reported.

The former president appeared before accountability court Judge Mohammad Bashir amid strict security measures with a heavy deployment of policemen around the court premises. Talking to media persons after the hearing Zardari’s chief defence counsel Farooq H. Naek said that the court was expected to indict his client today in two of the references faced by him.

Naek further said that he requested the court for permission to present his arguments over the indictment which would now be presented on Jan 18. Zaradri was earlier summoned in five references filed by NAB but did not appear before the court due to security issues and presidential immunity when he was in office.

References against Mr Zardari were made by Ehtesab Bureau — the previous version of National Accountability Bureau — which pursued these cases in 1997 when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif headed the government.

His cases were reopened in October when NAB pleaded that his immunity had ended after he had stepped down. The references filed against the former president are:

Polo ground case: This reference builds upon the construction of a polo ground along with ancillary works at the Prime Minister House, which NAB says are illegal and in violation of the rights and privileges afforded to him.

SGS: This corruption case is the continuance of a reference filed in 1997 that accused the late Benazir Bhutto and her spouse Zardari to have gained off a contract between the SGS and the government.

ARY: This reference revolves around granting of trade licenses to ARY Traders for importing gold and silver which NAB says has caused losses to the treasury.

Ursus tractors: This reference deals with alleged corruption during the import of Russian and Polish tractors.

Cotecna: This case is about the award of a contract to the Swiss company after allegedly receiving six per cent bribe on the revenue proceeds.- Dawn