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June 1, 2018

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Found no documents showing Nawaz as owner of Al-Azizia: Wajid

ISLAMABAD: The Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) head Wajid Zia on Thursday said he did not come across any document during investigation which showed that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is the owner of Al-Azizia Steel Mills.

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The statement came as the former prime minister’s legal counsel, Khawaja Haris, started cross-examination of Wajid Zia in the Al-Azizia reference against Sharif family.

Wajid Zia also admitted that Nawaz Sharif contributed no money for setting up Al-Azizia and also no money for this business was sent from Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif told JIT that he never sent any money abroad, Zia told the court. Zia also admitted that Nawaz had no role in the sale of Al-Azizia and no money transaction was made into his account with the sale proceeds.

He however said that Nawaz Sharif could be counted as a shareholder due to the statement of Shahbaz Sharif who had said that their father Mian Muhammad Sharif set up Al-Azizia Steel Mills and the three brothers were having their representation in it. He said Shahbaz had stated that Nawaz Sharif was represented by Hussain Nawaz, Shahbaz Sharif by his daughter Rabia Sharif and Abbas Sharif by himself.

At this, Khawaja Haris said the same sentence also reveals that the Steel Mills was not set up by Nawaz Sharif and it was rather set up by his father Mian Muhammad Sharif. Zia said that the JIT could not get record of Al-Azizia, therefore, it could not get to know about directors of the company. He said he got no document to show that Nawaz was ever involved in running of Al-Azizia. He said there was nothing to show that Nawaz was authorised signatory to enter into financial transactions on behalf of Al-Azizia or to deal with the financial institutions like obtaining loans etc. Zia told the court that Shahbaz had stated before the JIT that it was the wish of their father to equally distribute the business shares among the family members and he had also expressed his desire that whenever Al-Azizia will be sold out, the sale proceeds will go to Hussain Nawaz. He said there is no direct evidence to connect Nawaz with Al-Azizia and only indirect evidence in the form of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif’s statements who said that they had representation in the business through their children.

Zia told that between July 5, 2010 and June 6, 2011, there were more than 11million dollars in the bank account of Nawaz in Standard Chartered Bank. This amount remained intact till October 18, 2012. Haris pointed out that the alleged anomalies in wealth tax returns could be due to the reason that the JIT may have miscalculated the dollar amount into rupees. Zia agreed and said that this may be one of the reasons. Wajid Zia’s cross-examination will continue today (Friday).

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