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Final warning to Malik in corruption cases

RAWALPINDI: An accountability court asked on Tuesday Interior Minister Rehman Malik to appear in the court in two corruption references against him.

rehman malik fia pakistan minister interiorThe court put off the hearing in the case till Jan 26.

Judge Abdul Haq gave last warning to the minister to appear in the court and observed that proceedings could not take place in his absence because different applications were pending in the case.

Advocate Amjad Iqbal Qureshi informed the court on behalf of Mr Malik that he was out of the country.

The medical certificate of another accused Sajjad Haider was submitted in the court for exemption from personal appearance. NAB special prosecutor Malik Jamil Awan also not appeared in the court because of his engagements in Lahore.

The NAB has filed an application in the court seeking withdrawal of the two references against the minister.

The minister has filed an application seeking acquittal in the cases.

The judge said both the applications could not be taken up because the court had to determine whether the NAB could ask for withdrawal of any corruption reference where private persons were complainants.

In one reference, there is allegation against Mr Malik that a team of the Federal Investigation Agency raided the houses of Abbas Raza and Hashim Raza and took away Rs0.7 million and 20 tolas gold ornaments.

Mr Malik at that time was additional DG FIA.

In second reference, Mr Malik is accused of taking two vehicles in commission while purchasing many other vehicles from a motor company for FIA.

Mr Malik was given three years sentence in each case in absentia and at present he is on bail from the Sindh High Court.

Another court put off the hearing in Cotecna reference till January 20.

Court-III Judge Najmul Hassan Najam is carrying out the trial of former CBR official A. R. Siddiqi in the case because other accused President Asif Ali Zardari enjoyed constitutional immunity and Nusrat Bhutto is too ill to attend court proceedings.

Mr Siddiqi was formally indicted in the case on January 4 and he pleaded not guilty.

The National Accountability Bureau has alleged that Mr Siddiqi in a presentation to the Economic Coordination Committee supported the idea of awarding pre-shipment customs services supervision contract to Cotecna, a Swiss company, despite the fact the idea was not only turned down by the first government of Mian Nawaz Sharif but also the caretaker government of Moeen Qureshi.

It has also been alleged against Mr Siddiqi that while awarding the contract the former CBR chairman neglected the formalities as per the law.

Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari were accused in the reference filed during the Nawaz Sharif government in 1996 of taking six per cent of the total revenue of pre-shipment for awarding the contract worth $131 million.

The company was to supervise Pakistan’s customs services.

Begum Bhutto, Mr Siddiqi and six Swiss directors of the Cotecna Company are co-accused in the case.

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