Pakistan accountability court rejects Zardari's plea
An accountability court in Pakistan Monday rejected the acquittal plea of former president Asif Ali Zardari in the SGS and Contecna corruption cases.
Islamabad: An accountability court in Pakistan Monday rejected the acquittal plea of former president Asif Ali Zardari in the SGS and Contecna corruption cases.
The court has directed that the trial begin from Jan 8 and has summoned prosecution witnesses.
The case was heard in the accountability court of Justice Muhammad Bashir. The former president had filed acquittal pleas in five National Accountability (NAB) cases. Prior to this, the court had approved Zardari`s acquittal pleas in the Polo Ground, ARY Gold and URSUS tractor cases, The News International reported.
In the SGS case, filed in 1997, it is alleged that former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari had received kickbacks in a contract pertaining to customs inspection of goods being imported into Pakistan. All others in the case except Asif Ali Zardari have been absolved by the court.
In the Contecna case, it is alleged that a contract by Pakistan`s ministry of finance to take over pre-shipment inspection of goods entering Karachi port was awarded to the Swiss company in exchange for a bribe during the second tenure of Benazir Bhutto.
Zardari`s acquittal pleas have been approved in the following three cases:
Polo ground case: This reference builds upon the construction of a polo ground along with ancillary works at the Prime Minister House, which NAB maintains is illegal and in violation of the rights and privileges afforded to him.
ARY: This reference revolves around granting of trade licences to ARY Traders for importing gold and silver, which NAB says has caused loss to the treasury.
Ursus tractors: This reference deals with alleged corruption in the import of Russian and Polish tractors.