Saturday November 27, 2021

Wajid Zia’s testimony: JIT report based on tall claims, rather conclusive evidence against Sharifs

April 03, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in its report proved every allegation on Nawaz Sharif beyond any doubt, however, Wajid Zia -- head of the JIT -- is admitting with reference to every single allegation that there is no evidence or the point was not even investigated.

The only conclusive evidence the JIT obtained to prove Nawaz Sharif is the real owner of the London flats is that he exclusively used the Apartment No 16 (Avenfield) which earlier was in the use of Mian Muhammad Sharif. This was the main evidence the JIT succeeded to prove in its two-month-long probe — the evidence quoted by the JIT is beyond ridiculous.

“Mian Nawaz Sharif stated before the JIT that he usually stayed in Apartment No16 whenever he visited London. It is interesting to note that except him, no one is ever stated to have lived in Apartment No. 16; the only exception was Mian Muhammad Sharif, who as per the statement of Mr. Hussain Nawaz Sharif stayed in this apartment while he was sick in Nineties. This exclusive use of the apartment makes him the sole beneficiary of the apartment as far as possession is concerned,” says the JIT report.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Supreme Court of Pakistan, while constituting the joint investigation team mandated the JIT to focus on answering thirteen specific questions asked by the apex court. The JIT in its final report not only claimed to have answered every question asked by the Supreme Court but it also asserted that they have collected beyond doubt evidences against Nawaz Sharif and his family.

So far, during his cross examination which is continuing since last week, the JIT head Wajid Zia revealed before the court that no documentary evidence or witness could establish Nawaz’s association with the London properties and the offshore companies in BVI. Zia confirmed that no letter or document from the law firm Mossack Fonseca declared Nawaz Sharif the owner of the companies or properties or he was real or beneficial owner of the two offshore companies. Neither the FIA, BVI nor the AG BVI declared Nawaz associated with any of the offshore companies.

When he was asked by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s counsel whether his client was a settler, trustee or beneficiary of the offshore companies, the JIT head replied in negation. He further informed that no evidence surfaced neither did any witness told the JIT that the bearers certificates of the offshore companies were ever issued in the name of Nawaz Sharif. None of the departments and their correspondences including land registry offices ever declare Nawaz Sharif the owner of London properties, Zia said while replying to a question.

The JIT head Wajid Zia further informed the Accountability Court that JIT could not find any bank account which could establish that Nawaz Sharif paid for purchase of the London properties. Zia, during his cross examination, also said that no witness ever stated that Nawaz was the owner of Gulf Steel nor was beneficiary or associated with its sale later on. Regarding transfer of money from the sales proceeds of Gulf Steel, Wajid Zia told the court that there is no evidence that the money benefitted Nawaz Sharif and that even the letters from Al-Thani Family do not mention that Nawaz benefitted from the money they returned.

The JIT believed the contents of a private law firm, Mossack Fonseca true without bothering to consult, correspond, engage the said firm, without collecting the attached documents of the letters or without knowing to whom the letters were sent and upon whose request they were generated, the Accountability Court was informed during the cross questioning of JIT head Wajid Zia.

When Wajid Zia was asked about the relevant documents of the two letters from Mossack Fonseca, he replied that the JIT did not get those documents. Zia confirmed that two letters of Mossack Fonseca were certified by the BVI FIA but the JIT did not contact the law firm and that the two letters were supported by relevant documents which the JIT could not gather.

Haris asked that did the JIT contact the issuing person named at the end of the letters of the law firm and ask him/her to record the statements, Zia replied, no. Zia also told the court that the JIT also never asked the BVI for the supporting documents of the law firm’s letters.

Similarly, during the cross examination of JIT head, the double standards of the body was also highlighted as in one case the JIT did not send questionnaire to the Qatari prince and insisted to appear before the JIT in person. However, the same JIT sent a questionnaire to Jeremy Freeman through Quist Solicitors regarding authentication of trust deeds presented by Hussain Nawaz.

Similarly, Wajid Zia also revealed before the court that the 1978 sale agreement of Gulf Steel was assumed to be true but he said that the agreement presented by the Sharifs regarding further sale of shares in 1980 was forged. Nawaz Sharif’s counsel asked him to read before the court the relevant contents of the agreement in which Zia agreed that the 1978 agreement was to be registered in Dubai court while the 1980 agreement did not mention registration in any court. Zia said that the later agreement was termed fake because there was no record found in the Dubai courts. The counsel asked him that when the agreement did not demand for registration in the court, was it necessary to get it registered? Haris asked the JIT head that did the JIT try to contact the owners of Ahli Family who bought Gulf Steel, the reply was no.

Former PM’s counsel when asked Zia that did he know that the machinery for setting up mill in Saudi Arabia was sent from Sharjah to Jeddah and not from Dubai to Jeddah? Zia replied that an MLA was sent to UAE and Sharjah was part of UAE. Upon which, Haris asked, “Do you known the letter of credit attached with the JIT report says that it was a second-hand re-rolling mill and not scrap?” Zia after reading the LC replied with a “yes”.

Then Zia answered to Haris’ question that no MLA was sent by the JIT to the UAE authorities to confirm any transportation of second-hand re-rolling mill from Sharjah to Jeddah in 2001-2003.

So far, Wajid Zia’s testimony before the accountability court prove that the JIT claims of collecting undeniable evidence against Sharif family was mere “claims” based on hearsay and no conclusive evidence was collected by the body in two months.