Three witnesses record statement in Ashiana caseArchive
LAHORE: An accountability court on Monday recorded statements of three prosecution witnesses in Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme reference against leader of opposition in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and other suspects.
Mr Sharif, who is on bail, appeared before the court while other suspects were brought from jail under strict security arrangements made outside the judicial complex.
The closure of all adjacent roads by placing containers disturbed flow of traffic and free movement of the citizens as well.
Shahbaz allowed to leave court due to backache
The other suspects in the reference include former director general of Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Ahad Cheema, former principal secretary to prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad, Shahid Shafique of Bismillah Engineering Company, LDA former chief engineer Israr Saeed, Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) former chief engineer retired Col Arif Majeed, PLDC former chief executive officer Imtiaz Haider and PLDC official Bilal Qidwai.
The witnesses testified and cross-examined by the defence include additional registrar of Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Sidra Mansoor, LDA officials Riaz Hussain and Ghulam Mustafa.
During the cross-examination, Ms Mansoor presented record before the NAB on verbal instructions of SECP in-charge (companies registration) Liaqat Ali Doula. She admitted that the documents furnished to the investigating officer were photocopies but duly attested.
Ms Mansoor said she also testified in cases against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former finance minister Ishaq Dar before the accountability court, Islamabad.
Judge Naeem Arshad allowed Mr Sharif to leave the court after marking his attendance when he complained of serious backache.
The defence lawyers also complained about non-provision of complete documents of the reference from the prosecution. At this, the judge directed a NAB prosecutor to provide missing documents to the defence.
The judge adjourned hearing till July 13 and directed the prosecution to present more witnesses.
The NAB in the reference alleged that Mr Sharif being the chief minister of Punjab misused his authority by unlawfully assuming powers of Board of Directors of PLDC. It said he in connivance with his co-suspects awarded contract to an ineligible proxy firm that resulted in failure of Ashiana housing scheme causing a loss to public exchequer and deprived 61,000 applicants of houses.
It alleged that the former chief minister through his unlawful acts and misuse of authority caused huge loss to state exchequer amounting to Rs660 million and the project cost had also enhanced to the tune of Rs3.39 billion.
Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2019