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May 31, 2017

JIT questions PM’s son for six hours

Top Story

May 31, 2017

Hussain Nawaz rejects allegations of tax theft,
hiding assets or money laundering; not to give documents that may influence his legal rights

ISLAMABAD: Hussain Nawaz, son of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, provided the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) with attested and duly certified documents related to his properties and companies while the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President Saeed Ahmad also recorded his statement in reply to various questions raised by the JIT members, the sources told The News here on Tuesday.  

"All documents, copies and letters presented by Hussain Nawaz before the JIT were attested and certified and related to sixteen areas of interest. In his verbal replies, he categorically rejected the allegations of tax theft, hiding assets or money laundering and also raised doubts over the documents released by Mossack Fonseca, which are uncertified and cannot be used as evidence in the court of law," the sources said.

The sources said the documents presented on Tuesday were directly related to the Dubai factory, Azizia Steel Mills in Saudi Arabia, Mian Sharif's investment settlement with Al-Thani family, Hudaibiya Paper Mills audit report, loan acquired for Al-Taufiq Trust, foreign bank statements, tax returns and taking over control of Nescol and Nelson companies.

They said these documentary evidences aimed to clarify that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif never figured in any papers of the London flats and offshore companies and the same is the case with Hassan while Maryam Nawaz is mentioned only as a trustee having no monetary stake and Hussain Nawaz is the actual proprietor.

The sources said Hussain Nawaz dealt the questions raised by the JIT in terms of 'burden of disproof' by producing documentary evidences to refute all allegations of tax evasion or money laundering against him by the petitioners.

The money trail provided by Hussain Nawaz revolved around the basic fact that he acquired the London flats in turn for the investments in Qatar, the sources said.  

The JIT questioned the prime minister's son for six hours. Around two-and-a-half hours after the JIT started deposing Saeed Ahmad and later Hussain Nawaz, a special ambulance arrived at the JIT headquarters. Answering journalists' queries at the academy's gate, a man sitting in the SUV-turned-ambulance with a government number plate identified himself as Dr. Omar and said they had been called in. He refused to comment further and went inside.

It is pertinent to mention here that the three-member bench on Monday disregarded the objections raised by Hussain Nawaz and directed the JIT to continue working according to the law, and said it would not be replacing any member of the high-profile probe team.

NBP President Saeed Ahmad, who also recorded his statement before the JIT, categorically dismissed the impression that he provided help to Ishaq Dar in committing money laundering in the past and stated that he was given important slots on merit basis. 

The sources said the JIT members asked him about the bank accounts through which the alleged money laundering was conducted by Ishaq Dar but he maintained that no such thing was ever done in the past.

The JIT is conducting an investigation into these questions raised by the Supreme Court in the verdict of PanamaLeaks case: How did Gulf Steel Mills come into being? What led to its sale? What happened to its liabilities? Where did its sale proceeds end up? How did they reach Jeddah, Qatar and Britain? Whether Hussain and Hassan in view of their tender ages had the means in the early Nineties to possess and purchase the flats? Whether sudden appearance of the letters of Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani is a myth or a reality? How bearer shares crystallized into the flats? Who, in fact, is the real and beneficial owner of Nielsen Enterprises Limited and Nescoll Limited? How did Hill Metal Establishment come into existence? Where did the money for Flagship Investment Limited and other companies set up/taken over by Hassan come from? Where did the working capital for such companies come from? Where do the huge sums running into millions gifted by Hussain to the prime minister drop in from? 

Meanwhile, when Hussain Nawaz reached the Federal Judicial Academy some 100 workers of ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) gathered around his car but the security staff of the Prime Minister's House made his way clear to the venue of the JIT meeting. His lawyers did not accompany him and stayed outside the Federal Judicial Academy.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Affairs Dr Asif Kirmani, Hanif Abbasi, Senator Chaudhry Tanvir Khan, Minister of State Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, MNAs Daniyal Aziz and Maiza Hameed and Mayor of Islamabad Sheikh Ansar Aziz also reached the venue along with the party workers.

INP adds: Nearly two hours after he reached the Judicial Academy, an ambulance was dispatched to the academy where according to sources Hussain Nawaz was given medical treatment after his health deteriorated. Sources said Hussain Nawaz’s sugar level dropped as he was being quizzed by investigators. There was no further report on his health.

MONITORING DESK adds: Hussain Nawaz came out of the building and spoke to the media after the JIT session. “I was fasting and responded to all the questions asked,” he said.

Hussain Nawaz said that he had provided all the documents that the JIT asked for, adding that he respects the law. He said he would not give the documents that may influence his legal rights.

"I can say with conviction that nothing wrong would be proved against me, my father (PM Nawaz) or any sibling," Hussain Nawaz said. When asked about the two members that Hussain earlier objected to, the premier’s son stated that the matter should be allowed to rest. “If I have any objections in future, I’ll appeal to the court,” he said. According to sources, the JIT can summon the PM's son tomorrow as well.