ISLAMABAD:(APS)An accountability court judge in Islamabad on Monday rejected Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s request seeking acquittal in SGS and Cotecna references filed against him in 1997.
During Nawaz Sharif’s previous rule as the country’s premier in 1997, the court had acquitted Zardari in three corruption references.
However, when acquittal was requested in the SGS and Cotecna cases, the court rejected the plea.
Accountability judge Justice Bashir remarked that there are certain evidences in the application which cannot be entertained.
Witnesses have been summoned before the court on Jan 8, which is when further hearing into the case will take place.
Zardari had been summoned before the court for five references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) but did not appear due to security reasons and the presidential immunity which he enjoyed during his tenure.
The cases were later reopened in October 2013 when NAB pleaded that the immunity had ended after completion of his presidential tenure.
The references filed against the Zardari were:
Polo ground case: This reference builds upon the construction of a polo ground along with ancillary works at the Prime Minister House, which NAB says is illegal and in violation of the rights and privileges afforded to him.
SGS: This corruption case is the continuance of a reference filed in 1997 that accused the late Benazir Bhutto and her spouse Zardari to have gained off a contract between the SGS and the government.
ARY: This reference revolves around granting of trade licenses to ARY Traders for importing gold and silver, which NAB says has caused losses to the treasury.
Ursus tractors: This reference deals with alleged corruption during the import of Russian and Polish tractors.
Cotecna: This case is about the award of a contract to the Swiss company after allegedly receiving six per cent bribe on the revenue proceeds.
Out of these cases, Zardari had been acquitted for the Polo ground case, ARY Traders case and Ursus tractors case, but on Monday the court rejected his acquittal plea from the SGS and Cotecna references.