JIT clueless in its conclusive findings

Who owns Avenfield property at the moment?

LAHORE - The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in its report submitted to the Supreme Court of Pakistan has admitted that it was clueless about the current ownership of the Avenfield properties of the Sharif family.

Nonetheless, the JIT has maintained in its conclusive findings that Maryam Safdar had been the real and beneficial owner of Neilson and Nescoll Offshore Companies and owned Avenfield properties in 2012 and before.

It has been clearly stated in the report that JIT could not establish Maryam’s present status regarding the ownership of London properties in the absence of record or evidence which it says the respondents were required to provide in line with Qanoon-e-Shahadat.

The JIT believes that non-provision of requested corroborative documents and refusal to give “Data Disclosure Consent” to the JIT by the Sharif family members substantiates the fact that they were consciously concealing the evidence and its access by the JIT, which they were otherwise required to produce before it in the light of Articles 117, 119 & 129 of Qanoon-e-Shahadat, 1984 and Section-9(a)(5) of National Accountability Ordinance 1999.

The JIT has accused Maryam Safdar of manipulating the facts and camouflaging the truth mainly to mislead the Supreme Court. According to its findings, the Trust Declaration documents presented by Ms Maryam to the JIT, as well as the photocopies of these documents submitted in the court are fake and fabricated and are decoys to mislead the court.

To establish its findings, the JIT has quoted the verification letters of Mr Errol George, Director, FIA, British Virgin Islands and Advocate General of BVI.

The report also says that Hussain Nawaz who claims to be the ultimate beneficial owner of M/s Nielson Enterprises and M/s Nescoll Limited did not produce any document proving his ownership of these companies/properties despite repeated demands by the JIT.

The JIT has also quoted the contradictory statements of Sharifs to establish that the London flats actually belonged to them since 1993. According to the report, Hasan Nawaz contradicted the statement of his brother Hussain Nawaz about possession of Avenfield Apartments, who had earlier stated that only Apartment No 17 was in his possession in 1994. Contrarily, Hasan confirmed that three Avenfield Apartments (No 16, 16a & 17) were already in possession of Hussain Nawaz when he reached London in 1994 while they got possession of the fourth Apartment (No 17a) over the next six months. It substantiates that Hussain Nawaz prima fade was not truthful to the JIT about possession of these Apartments, says the report.

Hasan Nawaz also told the JIT that his brother Hussain Nawaz had been paying for the ground rent and utilities of Avenfield Apartments from 1994 to 2000 and that he later started himself paying it for which money also came from Hussain Nawaz.

The JIT maintains that Hasan’s contention is not consistent with the stance of Hussain Nawaz who stated that he did not pay these expenses after he left London in 1996. The JIT asserts that both the brothers are supposed to be having firsthand knowledge about this aspect being personally involved in such matters. The JIT has observed that prime facie either one or both the brothers have lied to hide some facts and hence they could not be given the benefit of doubt.

According to the JIT findings based on the interview of Mian Nawaz Sharif, it has been stated that Nawaz Sharif distanced himself from the apartments and could not explain the time-frame and procedure adopted for obtaining possession of Avenfield Apartments by his sons, and was even uncertain about which son claims the ownership of the flats now.

But Nawaz Sharif did tell the JIT that he usually stayed in Apartment No 16 (Avenfield) whenever he visited London. The JIT finds it “interesting” to state that except Nawaz Sharif no one is ever stated to have lived in Apartment No 16; the only exception being his father Mian Muhammad Sharif, who as per the statement of Hussain Nawaz stayed in the apartment while he was sick in the nineties.

The report says that Sharif family admitted ownership of their London flats from 2006 onwards and it was claimed that the BVI companies who owned these apartments were purchased by the Qatari Al-Thani family who held the ownership through bearer certificates. Sharifs have also claimed in their official stance that the ownership changed hands through the handing over of bearer certificate as a result of the final settlement between the Sharif family and the Al-Thani family.



JIT clueless in its conclusive findings

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