Pakistan's finance minister appears before accountability court in Panama scandal
October 23, 2017 | 6:22 PM
by PTI
Pakistan's Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is seen after a party meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan on September 26, 2017. Photo - Reuters file

Islamabad: Ishaq Dar, Pakistan's embattled finance minister and ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif's close aide, indicted in a graft case in the Panama Papers scandal, on Monday appeared before an anti-corruption court here for the seventh time.

The National Accountability Court had indicted Dar last month in the case pertaining to his owning assets "beyond his known sources of income".

At Monday's hearing, the anti-corruption watchdog National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecution presented two new witnesses against the 67-year-old minister, the Dawn reported.

The NAB on September 8 filed the case against Dar following the July 28 verdict of the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case that indicted Sharif and his family.

The apex court had also disqualified Sharif and ordered corruption cases against him, his children Maryam, Husain and Hasan and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar.

The first witness, Abdul Rehman Gondal, branch manager of a private bank's parliament branch, has completed his statement and is being cross-examined by Dar's counsel Khawaja Haris, the report said.

Gondal provided details of the account held by Dar in the bank. He informed the court that the NAB had summoned him along with relevant documents on August 16 and he submitted the requisite record concerning Dar to the investigating officer.

Gondal said he had provided bank statements of Dar from March 25, 2005 to August 16, 2017 to the NAB. The bank transaction details provided by the witness were made part of case record by the court, the report said. The court directed to him appear in the next hearing with additional record. The second witness, Masood Ghani, the operations manager in a private bank, gave his testimony regarding Dar's bank record. His cross-examination could not be completed on Monday and the court ordered him to appear in the next hearing with the record sought by the defence counsel. The hearing was subsequently adjourned till October 30, the report said.

The court had on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of the graft cases till October 23 after the minister's senior counsel left the country in a rush. In the preceding hearing of the case, Haris had cross- questioned Al-Baraka Islamic Bank's Assistant Vice President Tariq Javed - the prosecution's third witness.

On October 19, the anti-graft court had indicted Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law in a corruption case related to the Avenfield properties in London. The case was one of the three cases registered by the NAB on September 8 against 67-year-old Sharif, his children and son-in-law in the Accountability Court in Islamabad.

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