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Monday June 17, 2024

JIT fails to investigate important transactions of Gulf Steel Mills

By Usman Manzoor
April 04, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) did not investigate one of the most important transactions of sale of 25 % shares of Ahli Steel Mills (previously Gulf Steel Mills) in 1980 which were in the name of Tariq Shafi and the gems of JIT concluded their findings on presumptions and without any conclusive evidence in Panama Papers.

Wajid Zia, the head of JIT during his cross examination in the accountability court, said that the JIT had rejected the 1980 sale agreement of 25% shares in the name of Tariq Shafi in Ahli Steel Mills because it was not registered with Dubai courts and it did not investigate further as to whom and for how much the 25 % shares were sold by Shafi and in which year.

Khawaja Haris kept on asking questions from Zia regarding his own or JIT’s investigation regarding the sale of Shafi’s shares in Ahli Steel and Zia kept on explaining the findings of the JIT based on presumptions and without any direct or conclusive evidence.

“Do you consider 1978 agreement of sale of 75 % shares of Gulf Steel Mills to Abdullah Kayed Ahli?” Haris asked. Zia replied that JIT assumed this document to be true. Haris asked, “The 1978 agreement says that 25% shares of Gulf Steel (later changed into Ahli Steel) were in the name of Tariq Shafi.” Zia agreed. Zia told the court that Sharif family produced the agreement of further sale of 25% shares of Shafi to Mr Ahli in 1980 which was a fake document. Upon this, Haris asked him, “Did the JIT investigate where did the 25% shares of Shafi go?” Zia replied, “No”.

JIT head was asked that did any witness/accused tell JIT about the 25 % shares sale of Shafi in Ahli Steel, upon which Zia replied that Mr Tariq Shafi and Mr Shahbaz Sharif told the JIT about the said sale in 1980 which was rejected by JIT.

Then Zia that the 25 % shares of Shafi in Ahli Steel were sold ostensibly during 1978 to 1986. Haris asked Zia what does ostensibly mean? Zia replied, “Bazahir (Apparaently)”. Then Zia agreed that no conclusive evidence reached JIT that could establish so. He also said that neither any document nor any of the witness say so but JIT concluded itself because in 1987, Shafi opened an account in BCCI bank which meant that he had paid the liabilities before 1987 as he had earlier defaulted on a loan in BCCI. Zia was aksed whether any transaction was noticed in the bank account of Shafi regarding sale of 25 % shares of ahli steel, the JIT head replied in negative.

He was asked that did the JIT record statement of any banker regarding the sale transaction of 25 % shares of Ahli steel by Shafi, Zia replied, “No”. Khawaja Haris questioned Zia, “Did the JIT investigate or question Abdullah Ahli”? Zia said, “No.”

To a question, Zia replied that no evidence came from Dubai regarding 25% share sale of Ahli steel by Shafi. Zia told the court that JIT came to know about a decree against Tariq Shafi regarding loan default in BCCI. When Khawaja Haris asked about evidence of settlement of the loan between 1978 and 1986 as presumed by JIT, Zia said that the JIT did not investigate it.