Panamagate Case: SC bench questions Sharifs’ counsel over London flats money trail
ISLAMABAD: A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, resumed hearing of Panamagate Case on Tuesday (today), ARY News reported.
The five-member bench also included Justice Azmat Saeed, Justice Ijaz Afzal, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Hasan, hearing the case against the children of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The prosecutor of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) 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 filed appeals in many cases, which were decided by the judges 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 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 Zulfiqar 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 bench adjourned the hearing of the case till tomorrow.
In the previous hearing, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted the record of Ishaq Dar’s statement in Supreme Court.
According to the record Ishaq Dar submitted his application for pardon on April 20, in year 2000. Chairman NAB approved his plea for pardon on April 21. The investigation officer submitted request for recording the statement of Dar on April 24 and his confessional statement was recorded on April 25th.
Shahid Hamid, the counsel of Ishaq Dar, in his arguments said that the disqualification plea against his client was dismissed in intra-court appeal, while the decision of dismissing references against Nawaz Sharif and other have already been quoted.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa asked, the court had ordered in the decision to dismiss the reference and not to investigate the matter? The counsel said that the division bench had difference over the re-investigation of the matter, so the referee judge decided the matter.
Justice Ijaz Afzal said that Ishaq Dar’s confession was recorded after he became the approver. The counsel said that the money laundering case against his client has been ended. He could not be disqualified over mere allegations. According to the NAB record Ishaq Dar is not an accused now, the lawyer said.
The counsel said that the statement of an approver taken on oath could not be used against him. Justice Ijaz Afzal remarked that the statement can not be used against Ishaq Dar but can be used against the prime minister.
Shahid Hamid said that under the criminal procedure code clause 26, his client Ishaq Dar could not be tried again.
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.