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National

Web Desk
January 4, 2017
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New SC bench takes up Panama Leaks case today

New SC bench takes up Panama Leaks case today

ISLAMABAD: A new five-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, the senior-most judge, will resume fresh hearing in the petitions filed by the PTI, JI and others, seeking probe into the Panama Leaks case.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children have changed their legal team in the case, being taken up today after a gap of almost a month.

Earlier, on December 9, a five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by former Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, adjourned hearing into the matter until the first week of January 2017 after the PTI objected to the formation of a commission, proposed by the bench, and stressed that the said bench should decide the matter in the interest of justice.

Former Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali observed that as he was going to retire on December 30, 2016, he would not be a part of the bench. Hence the case was adjourned to the first week of January with the ruling that a new bench be constituted to decide the matter.

On Saturday, the new CJ Mian Saqib Nisar constituted a new five-member larger bench of headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, to hear the case.

As the ruling PML-N has changed the strategy for defending the Panama Leaks case in the country’s highest court by changing its legal team, the PTI also submitted some additional documents in the court aimed to substantiate its claim that Maryam Nawaz is the beneficiary of flats in London.

The 40-page documents include details of conversation between British Virgin Islands’ investigation department and Mosack Fonseca Company and emails of Minerva Community Services and Mosack.

Salman Aslam Butt, who was representing the prime minister, was replaced with former attorney general and senior lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan. Similarly, Hussain Nawaz, elder son of Premier Nawaz Sharif, who was represented earlier by advocate Muhammad Akram Sheikh, was replaced with Salman Akram Raja, senior advocate of the Supreme Court.

Likewise, Maryam Safdar, and Captain (retd) Safdar, who were earlier represented by Akram Sheikh and Salman Aslam Butt, were replaced by former governor Punjab Shahid Hamid, advocate, respectively.

In its additional documents, the PTI informed the court that on June 12, 2012, financial investigation agency British Virgin Islands asked Nescoll Limited and Nielsen Enterprises Limited about name and contact details and physical address of the ultimate beneficial owner, registered director and shareholder of the companies.

According to the documents, responding to the query of the agency, money laundering reporting officer of Mossack, Fonseca & Co (BVI) Limited Tortola, J Nizbeth Maduro wrote a letter to the agency saying that beneficial owner of the Nielsen Enterprises Limited and Nescoll Limited is Maryam Safdar whose address is Saroor Palace, Bazoue al Eman St Ruwais, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The reporting officer also attached a copy of the passport of Maryam Safdar with the letter.

Nizbeth Maduro also said that directors of the company are Minerva Officer Limited and Corporate Officer Limited whose address is PO Box 218, 43/45 La Motte Street St. Helier JE48SD Jersey. However, she said that Mossack Fonseca & Co have no information of any company/ies connected to the associated company, adding that the company has a loan account with Deutsche Bank Geneva.

Besides, responding to another letter of Mossack Fonseca & Co, Michael Rossiter, a Trust Officer of Minerva Trust & Corporate Services Limited from Jersey, informed that Nielsen and Nescoll are owned by the same beneficial owner Maryam Safdar.

Michael further said in a letter that activities of each company is also the same, they both own a UK property each, Nescoll owns 17 Avenfield House, 118-127 Park Lane, London and Nielsen owns number 16 of the team address. Michael added that neither property is rented and only occupied by the owner and her family.

Meanwhile, Tariq Asad, advocate, who was also one of the petitioners, filed a civil miscellaneous application (CMA) in the Panama Leaks case.

He prayed that in case the apex court finally decides to constitute a commission to probe the money laundering and tax evasions of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members, the investigation of other prominent persons, at least parliamentarians like Imran Khan, Jehangir Tareen, Pervez Musharraf, Saifullah along with his family members, Rehman Malik, Benazir’s legal heirs and those others which the apex court deems fit, may also be conducted and whoever are found involved in the alleged corrupt practices may be dealt with in accordance with the law equally. He further prayed that the case of Mian Nawaz Sharif may be decided urgently on priority basis, but the investigation about others may be done later.

Responsining to the PTI’s presser, PML-N leader Talal Chaudhry slammed Imran Khan for trying to influence the court by presenting unverified documents.

Speaking to a private TV channel, Talal Chaudhry said the documents presented by the PTI chairman were unverified questioning why they are taking trash to the court when it is asking for evidences. He described the Tuesday’s press conference by the PTI chief as an effort to influence hearing of the case.

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