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KARACHI: The lawyers have completed the cross-examination of a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) witness Shabiul Hassan in Rs17 billion corruption reference against former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain on Saturday.

The cross-examination of the NAB witness Shabiul Hassan, an employee of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), was completed by the lawyers as the accountability court resumed the hearing of the corruption reference against Dr Asim Hussain.

Dr Asim Hussain did not appear in the hearing. The defence counsel pleaded with the court for granting the accused exemption from personal appearance in the hearing due to ailment. The plea was accepted by the accountability court.

The court summoned more witnesses in the case and adjourned the hearing till March 27.

He has also been accused of fraudulently awarding contracts for five gas fields to the Jamshoro Joint Venture Limited, which allegedly caused a loss of Rs17.338bn to the national exchequer.

Moreover, an accountability court had indicted Dr Hussain, ex-petroleum secretary Ejaz Chaudhry and others in an over Rs460 billion corruption reference in 2018.

Dr Hussain was taken into custody on August 26, 2015 by Rangers on different corruption charges.

Dr Asim faced charges of misusing his authority for getting plots allotted fraudulently and encroaching upon state land for expansion of Dr Ziauddin Hospital/Trust, money laundering, illegal gains, kickbacks, commission through fertilizer cartel for illegal curtailment of gas for exploitative price hike and defrauding people in the name of charity hospital.

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