Pakistan

Panamagate Case: Old record of Sharifs’ business dealings cannot be produced: lawyer

Supreme Court

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) resumed the hearing of Panamagate Case against the children of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday after a span of two weeks, ARY News reported.

The hearing of the case was adjourned due to unavailability of a bench member Justice Azmat Saeed Khosa on health grounds as he was rushed to a hospital in Rawalpindi due to cardiac issues.

Salman Akram Raja, the counsel of the prime minister’s children, resumed his arguments today. The counsel said that the record of the Sharif family’s 40 to 45 years old business dealings could not be produced.

Justice Ijaz Afzal during the hearing questioned, “How to access the true information of the matter ? The petitioner has expressed his inability to produce evidence. Now you are saying the same. How can we conclude the matter? Who will provide the documents?”

The counsel said that the available record has been provided in the court. He also said that it has been proved that London flats were not owned by the prime minister neither the Sharif family in year 1999.

The counsel said that the al-Thani family had handed over the bearer certificates of flats to Hussain Nawaz in January 2006.

The bench remarked that the Qatari letter says nothing about handing over of the certificates to Hussain Nawaz. The details of the letters have now memorized to us.

Addressing the lawyer the bench said, “You are jumping here and there. Produce the documents to prove it”. “What is problem in producing the record of Minerva?

Counsel Salman Akram Raja said that 40 to 45 years old documentary record doesn’t exist. The family papers were lost due to the martial law of 1999, he said.

In the previous hearing, the prosecutor of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had submitted the minutes of the meeting that decided not to file an appeal against the court decision on Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference.

Justice Gulzar asked about the number of cases where the NAB not filed an appeal against the decision. The NAB prosecutor said that there are large number of cases in which appeals were not filed. He said that the appeal was not filed due to the unanimous decision of the judges.

Justice Ijaz Afzal observed that the NAB has filed appeals in many cases, which were decided by the bench unanimously.

Salman Akram Raja, the counsel of Hussain Nawaz, in his arguments said that the record of the sale proves that the Gulf factory was sold in 12 million Dirhams. “Who paid the bank arrears,” Justice Ijaz Afzal asked. The counsel said that the arrears might be paid with the profit of the factory.

In his arguments the counsel said that Mian Sharif had absolute control over the family business.

He said that Tariq Shafi did not manage the daily affairs of the Gulf factory as he was just a witness to payment of Rs. 12 million Dirhams to Al-Thani family for investment.

Justice Asif Khosa observed that the premier mentioned about setting up six new factories during Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s tenure.

Justice Gulzar remarked that when six factories were established in Pakistan, what was the need of Gulf factory then adding that the premier did not mention about Qatari investment.

When did Sharif family settle in London flats, Justice Gulzar asked.

Counsel claimed that the Sharif family did not purchase London flats during 1993 to 1996 adding that Sharif family was not the owner of offshore firms for the said period as well. The family purchased London flats in 2006, Salman Akram Raja told the bench.

Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan remarked that the core question was the source of money for London flats as Hussain Nawaz claimed that he owned London flats due to Qatari investment.

Prime Minister’s statement and Tariq Shafi’s affidavit had no information regarding Qatari investment’ remarked justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan.

The counsel claimed that the reply submitted on November 7 enclosed information regarding 12 million Dirham investments of Dubai factory adding that Qatari royal family was involved in the matter.

Justice Ijaz Afzal asked whether 12 million Dirhams were received in form of cash or through any bank adding that every deal inked by Sharif family was through banks but the 12 million Dirhams were received in form of cash.

To this, Salman Akram reaffirmed that receiving money in form of cash was not surprising. Justice Ijaz Afzal remarked that the available documents fail to support it.

The payment was made in six successive installments for investment said Salman Akram Raja.

The Panamagate Scandal

The leaked papers, comprising 11.5 million documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, exposes how some of the world’s most powerful people have secreted their money offshore, and also implicated Sharif’s sons Hasan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz.

Three of Sharif’s four children are named in the Panama Papers – daughter Maryam, who has been tipped to be his political successor and sons Hasan and Hussain – with the records showing they owned London real estate through offshore companies administered by Mossack Fonseca.

The Panama Papers have whipped up a storm of controversy over offshore wealth, ensnaring political leaders, sports figures and underworld members across the globe in the scandal.

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