ISLAMABAD: The accountability court on Wednesday ordered the acquittal of former president and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari in a corruption reference related to the construction of a polo ground at the Prime Minster’s House in Islamabad.
The court also reserved its decision on two other corruption references – ARY Gold and Ursus tractors. It will announce its verdict on June 4 while two other references related to Cotechna and SSG Swiss cases would be decided on June 9. Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir heard the case and announced his verdict, observing that since the court was not provided with sufficient evidence so it declared that the accused cannot be declared guilty.
Bashir observed that the prosecution has not submitted the material evidence to prove the case. Farooq H Naek, the counsel for the former president, stated in the court that NAB has failed to produce a single witness against his client, and the record provided by the prosecution in the court was not genuine, as it comprised of photocopies and had no legal significance. This reference was filed against Zardari over the construction of a polo ground along with ancillary works at the PM House, which the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) considered as illegal and violative of his rights and privileges.
The reference filed by NAB in 2000 alleged that the polo ground at the PM House was constructed during the second tenure of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto on the verbal orders of her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, to then CDA chairmen Saeed Mehdi and Shafi Sehwani at an estimated cost of Rs 52.29 million. The NAB, in the reference, nominated the two former CDA chairmen as the principal accused. It was alleged that both the former CDA chiefs got sheds constructed and had landscaping done in a portion of the PM House and converted it into a polo ground.
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