ISLAMABAD: A prosecution witness on Thursday testified before an accountability court that the documents he produced before it in the Toshakhana case were not in his custody.
The accountability court-III judge Syed Asghar Ali while hearing Toshakhana case against former president Asif Ali Zardari, two former premiers Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani and Nawaz Sharif, and others, recorded the statement of witness Muhammad Ahad, an official currently posted in the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) as deputy secretary, and earlier posted in the Cabinet Division.
Zardari’s counsel Farooq H Naek conducted cross-examination of the witness while the NAB prosecutor Irfan Bola also appeared before the court.
Zardari and others accused counsel filed separate applications before the court, seeking one-day exemption of their client from personal appearance, which the court approved.
When the defence counsel asked the witness if the record he has produced before the NAB was in his custody, the witness replied, “I was not possessor of record which I produced before NAB on July 22, 2019 as I was not posted in the Cabinet Division.”
Replying the question of Naek, the witness told that he joined the government service in 1986 as a stenotypist. At that time, I was posted at the Ministry of Water and Power, he further said.
“In March, 2019, I was posted in the Cabinet Division and July 15, 2019, I was posted in the ERRA and remained there till December 31, 2019,” he further told.
When the witness was asked about his immediate boss at the ERRA, he replied that his immediate boss in March 2019 was joint secretary Fazal Hafeez. He said it is correct that he was not posted in the Cabinet Division on July 22, 2019, at the time when he recorded his statement under section 161 CrPC on 22 July 2019.
He did not take permission from his immediate boss for recording his statement before the NAB but he received a notice from the NAB.
To another question, the witness said that it is correct that he has not signed office memorandum as deputy secretary.
It is correct that I have not produced the letter dated March 7, 2019, before the court mentioned in the office memorandum, he said.
He said that he was author of a comprehensive report of Toshakhana which he produced before the court.
It is correct that I have not produced the entire government conduct rules 1964, he said.
He said that it is correct that the rules he has produced are rules for acceptance of gifts for minister and government servant not president of Pakistan.
It is correct that summary for the cabinet August 29, 1973 does not contain the signature of Waqar Ahmed, cabinet secretary.
It is correct that he is not in service of government of Pakistan, he said.
The court adjourned hearing of the case till June 3rd and Naek will continue cross-examination of the witness during the next hearing.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021