Court issues fresh notice to Zardari over graft cases

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 00:55

Islamabad: A Pakistani anti-corruption court on Tuesday issued a fresh notice to former president Asif Ali Zardari over six graft cases and directed him to appear at the next hearing on November 26.

Zardari was not present in court and his lawyer, former law minister Farooq H Naek, informed the judge that the former president could not appear as he was attending a conference on democracy outside the country.

Naek sought more time from the court to prepare for the case and said he would personally apprise Zardari about the notice.

The court then issued notices to the former president and the National Accountability Bureau for re-opening the corruption cases and said it could initiate proceedings against Zardari if he did not appear at the next hearing on November 26.

In July 2011, pronouncing its verdict in the 13-year-old graft case, commonly known as the SGS case, an anti-graft court had absolved all accused except Zardari.

In the SGS case filed in 1997, it was alleged that then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her husband Zardari had received kickbacks in a pre-shipment contract between the Pakistani government and the Swiss firm SGS.

The case against Bhutto and her mother Nusrat Bhutto lapsed following their deaths while six foreigners were declared fugitives.

The next case is known as the Contecna case which involved an alleged corrupt award of a contract for supervising pre-shipment at Karachi port.
The contract was awarded to the Swiss company Cotecna in exchange for an alleged bribe during Bhutto`s second term.

AR Siddiqui, the sole accused, was acquitted in the case in September 2011, 14 years after the case was first filed.

Another case relates to ARY Traders for import of gold and silver causing alleged losses to public exchequer of Rs 18.2 million.

PTI

First Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 00:55

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