JIT recommends filing of reference against PM, his sons in ‘Panamagate’ scandal
ISLAMABAD: The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), formed to probe the money trail of ruling Sharif family’s offshore properties, submitted its fourth and final report to the Supreme Court today and it recommended the apex court to file reference against the prime minister and his two sons under NAB Ordinance, ARY News reported
Here’s what the JIT said in its report that:
“PM’s sons Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz and his daughter Maryam Nawaz failed to produce satisfactory evidence in the offshore companies allegations against them.”
The probe body also recommended the court that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) should initiate inquiry against PM and his two sons as well as Maryam Nawaz.
The Panama JIT members arrived at the court amid tight security along with a box believed to be containing the investigation report and evidences collected by them during 60-day long investigation.
The six-member investigation team, led by Deputy Director General FIA Wajid Zia, was given sixty days to complete the task.
Informing the court, Mr. Zia requested that volume-10 of the JIT report should not be made public as it contained evidences that would help in further probe in the Panamagate scandal.
The team held numerous sessions at Federal Judicial Academy in Islamabad during which Hussain Nawaz, elder son of the Prime Minister, appeared before it for six times; Prime Minister’s younger son Hassan Nawaz three times and his daughter Maryam Nawaz once.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself appeared before the JIT on 15th of last month and Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif appeared on the 17th.
‘Contempt notice to Jang Group’
The apex court also issued contempt notice to the Jang Group for ‘misleading’ news story on Panama leaks.
The SC served contempt notice on Jang Group owner Mir Shakilur Rehman, Publisher Mir Javedur Rehman and reporter Ahmed Noorani who filed the report.
The court asked the respondents to file their replies within seven days.
Here is a screenshot of questions that the aforementioned reporter published in his latest report along with answers to these queries citing his “sources” confided with JIT report finding.
Here it is
Govt ‘not to accept’ JIT report?
The government has already stated that it would not accept the investigation report in absence of the statement of former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani who is the sole defense witness in the money laundering case against Sharif family.
However, the entire opposition is holding Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) responsible for failure to make Qatari prince appear before the JIT.
The report consist of the details of grilling sessions with members of Sharif family including the statements of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his brother Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, children Hassan, Hussain and Maryam Nawaz Sharif, son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar, cousin Tariq Shafi, and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, besides other relevant witnesses.
What analysts say?
The analysts are of the opinion that the investigation hinges on money trails for the Park Lane apartments including Rehman Malik’s investigation on the matter back in 1990s. Malik served Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) as Additional Director General in 1990s and a money laundering probe against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was carried out under his supervision back in 1994-95.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa announced the verdict while giving 60 days of time to the JIT for investigation.
The probing team comprises officials of National Accountability Bureau, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), State Bank of Pakistan, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI), headed by Additional Director General FIA Wajid Zia.
Qatari prince in defiance of Pakistani laws
Previously, Qatari Prince Hamad bin Jassim refused to appear before the JIT formed in compliance with the top court’s verdict on April 20, who asked the probing team to travel Doha instead for his statement.
The prince had persistently maintained his stance and contended that he could not be subjected to an investigation by Pakistani institutions since he holds a foreign nationality.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had presented two letters by the Qatari prince in the Supreme Court of Pakistan to prove the money trail of London properties.
The JIT reportedly wrote to Sheikh Al-Thani thrice, and the former Qatari prime minster responded in writing. Sources said there were differences over the issue of jurisdiction; the JIT wanted him to testify him inside the territorial jurisdiction of Pakistan and offered to host him in Pakistan or record his statement at the Pakistani embassy at Doha.
However, he reportedly refused to arrive at Pakistan’s embassy in Qatar.
Record tampering to ‘save Sharifs’
An FIA team tasked to probe Panama JIT’s allegations about tampering with the records of the Sharif family’s companies had found Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) chairman guilty of record tampering.
A four-member FIA team constituted by the Supreme Court to look into the allegations by the JIT probing money laundering charges against the Sharif family, proved the record tampering.
The team had submitted its report in the apex court, which found chairman Zafar Hijazi guilty of record tampering and recommended criminal action against him and two of his subordinates – Ali Azeem and Maheen Fatima – under Section 466, 472, PPC read with 5(2) Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) 1947.