JIT jolts House of Sharifs

In Final report says PM family assets beyond their known means n Recommends NAB reference against Nawaz, children

ISLAMABAD - The JIT has found glaring disparity in the assets and known income of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children, and recommended filing of a reference against them with the NAB.

The six-member joint investigation team (JIT), tasked to probe the business affairs of the Sharif family, submitted its fourth and final report – comprising 256 pages and 10 volumes – to the Supreme Court on Monday.

The team head, Wajid Zia, requested the three-judge Panama judgement implementation bench to keep Volume 10 of the report confidential as it contained details about the “Mutual Legal Assistance” [with the foreign countries].

The report noted that all the respondents failed to produce the requisite information confirming “known sources of income” and hence failed to justify the assets and the means of income.

“Significant gap/disparity amongst the known and declared sources of income and the wealth accumulated by the Respondent No 1, 6, 7 and 8 have been observed,” the investigators observed in their concluding remarks in the report.

Respondent 1 refers to Premier Nawaz Sharif, 6 to his daughter Maryam Nawaz, and 7 and 8 refer to his sons Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz.

Referring to sections of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 and the Qanun-e-Shahadat 1984, the JIT recommended proceeding against them through filing a reference with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The JIT also recommended the top court to order the interior ministry to put the names of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President Saeed Ahmed and Pakistan Sugar Mills Association Chairman Javed Kayani on Exit Control List (ECL), as the statements of both these persons are of key importance in Hudaibiya Paper Mills.

Fake documents & false statements

The JIT found the affidavits of Tariq Shafi factually incorrect, speculative, tampered and misleading hence cannot be relied upon. Tariq Shafi told the JIT that it was prepared by defence lawyer Salman Akram Raja.

The report said that Mian Nawaz Sharif was evasive about most of the questions related to Gulf Steel Mills. He first denied that he does not know Muhammad Hussain nor his partnership in Gulf Steel Mills but after two and half hours admitted that Muhammad Hussain is his uncle.

The report said that Mian Nawaz Sharif’s statement that Gulf Steel Mills in 1980 was sold for 33.37 million Dirhams cannot be corroborated.

Maryam Safdar has submitted fake/falsified documents to the JIT, which is a criminal offence. These documents are decoys to manipulate facts and camouflage truth. Hussain Nawaz and Capt (r) Safdar as well as Maryam Safdar have also signed these falsified and misleading documents.

Gifts and offshore companies

The report pointed out “irregular movement” of huge amounts in the shape of loans and gifts, from Saudi Arabia-based company Hill Metals Establishment, United Kingdom-based company Flagship Investments Limited and United Arab Emirates-based company Capital FZE, to PM Nawaz and his son Hussain as well as to Pakistan-based companies of the premier and his family.

It said, the role of offshore companies is critically important as several offshore companies Nescoll Limited, Nielsen Enterprises Limited, Alanna Services Limited, Lamkin SA, Coomber Group Inc, Hiltern International Limited have been identified to be linked with their businesses in the UK, while conducting this investigation.

These companies were mainly used for inflow of funds into the UK-based companies, which not only acquired expensive properties in the UK from such funds but also revolved these funds among their companies in the UK, KSA, UAE and Pakistan.

The prime minister and Hussain Nawaz have been found to be recipients of movement of these funds into Pakistan as gift/loans whose purpose/reason have not justified by them before the JIT.

These UK-based companies were loss-making entities which heavily engaged in revolving funds vis-à-vis creating a smokescreen. Expensive properties in the UK were due to the business operations of these UK-based companies.

Moreover, the financial structure and health of companies in Pakistan having linkage to the respondents also do not substantiate the wealth of the respondents.

Evidence from abroad

The report contains that the JIT-acquired documentary evidence regarding confirmation of the beneficial ownership of Maryam Nawaz of the British Virgin Island-based companies – Neilsen and Nescol by the Financial Investigation Agency of the British Virgin Island.

The report confirms chairmanship of Nawaz Sharif in offshore company namely, FZE Capital, UAE by Jabel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA).

The report also confirms fictitious sale/purchase agreements submitted in the apex court by Ministry of Justice, the UAE and the submission of falsified/tampered “Declaration of Trusts” by the respondent in the Supreme Court as per report of a British forensic expert.

Qatari letters and Gulf Steel Mills

The report declared that the Qatari prince’s two letters are myth and not reality. The obvious and very strong inference therefore is that the beneficial owners of the properties were not the Al-Thani family.

United Arab Emirate’s Ministry of Justice, in a notarised reply to the JIT included in Volume Three of the report, stated that no transaction of AED 12 million exists in the records of Dubai Courts.

The AED 12 million transaction refers to the sale proceeds of 25 percent shares of Ahli Steel Mills (erstwhile Gulf Steel Mills) in the name of the prime minister’s cousin Tariq Shafi.

“That share sale of 25 percent agreement of 1980 of Ahli Steel Mills (erstwhile Gulf Steel Mills) dated 14/4/1980 according to your request does not exists,” said the reply by the Emirati ministry.

“That no transaction worth AED 12,000,000 (12 million Dirhams) as sale proceeds of 25 percent shares of Ahli Steel Mills (Gulf Steel Mills) ever took place in name of Mr Muhammad Tariq Shafi.”

Another question asked by the JIT referred to the transport of scrap machinery from Ahli Steel Mills to Al Azizia Steel Mills, the ministry replied that no scrap machinery was transported from Dubai to Jeddah during 2001-2002.

Reason for corruption case

The report said that the JIT was compelled to refer that this case falls under Section 9(a)(v) and Section 14(C) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.

If he (PM) or any of his dependents or benamidars owns, possesses, or has acquired right or title in any assets or holds irrevocable power of attorney in respect of any assets or pecuniary resources disproportionate to this known sources of income, which he cannot reasonably account for or maintains a standard of assets beyond which commensurate with his source of income.

The report said that the burden of prove under articles 117, 122 and 129 of Qanun-e-Shahadat Order 1984 was on the Sharif family, which they failed to discharge.

The report states that the NAB provided 26 cases against Nawaz Sharif and others, while the FIA provided two, and the SECP two cases.

JIT security

The court ordered complete security for the members of joint investigation team until further orders. The court also ordered that the JIT members should be provided the job security as well.

“The families of the JIT members should be provided absolute security,” the apex court ordered the concerned authorities. And, any action against the JIT members will be made subject to the court’s approval, the SC said.

The JIT has been asked to evacuate Federal Judicial Academy (FJA) that served as the headquarters of the investigation team.

The court directed the counsels of both sides to appear on July 17 (Monday) for further hearing.

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