Friday April 19, 2024

No evidence found linking Nawaz to Hill Metal: Wajid

By Faisal Kamal Pasha
June 02, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) head and prosecution's main witness Wajid Zia on Friday told the Accountability Court that no evidence was found linking former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to Hill Metal Establishment (HME).

“Neither any witness claimed nor there is any document to show that Nawaz was involved in any way with Hill Metal Establishment,” Zia said during his cross-examination as Judge Mohammad Bashir presided proceedings in the Al-Azizia/Hill Metal references.

Wajid Zia said that since Nawaz received 88 percent profit of the said company so the JIT concluded that he is ‘benami’ owner of HME. Counsel for Nawaz, Khawaja Haris Ahmad said the conclusion is not admissible in the court and this is all what he (Zia) already stated in his statement before the court.

Wajid Zia further admitted that Nawaz was never authorised to carry out business transactions for HME, or to purchase machinery, to obtain loans from banks or to maintain HME bank accounts. “No witness stated that Nawaz was involved in setting up HME or contributed any funds,” Zia said, while responding to the questions of Haris.

He said the JIT could not conclude that whether HME was a company, sole proprietorship or corporation. As per uncertified documents, he said, HME was sole proprietorship, but the JIT put no efforts to get these document certified. Zia also admitted that during Nawaz Sharif’s statement before the JIT, it did not question him that who was carrying out HME business, how funds were provided for it and how it was established and who was the owner.

Earlier, during start of the proceedings, Zia admitted that there is no evidence that Rabia Sharif, daughter of Shahbaz Sharif, who was a shareholder in HME, ever took part in the operations of the company or she ever travelled to Saudi Arabia during the period in which this company remained functional. There is also no proof that the third shareholder of HME Abbas Sharif ever took part in the HME business. Wajid Zia also admitted that there are no documents to show that any money was transferred either to Rabia or Abbas Sharif’s accounts and the JIT also not issued summons to Rabia, while Abbas died in 2013. Zia also admitted that no witness stated before the JIT that Hussain Nawaz was not the sole proprietor of HME.

Zia said the JIT had sent a mutual legal assistance (MLA) application to Saudi Arabia to know about the title and incorporation of HME but the MLA request was not responded.

Nowhere the name of Nawaz appeared as owner or shareholder of the company. A question was also asked about the age of Hussain Nawaz and it emerged that at the time of Al Azizia sale, he was 33. Other questions were also asked about the establishment of Gulf Steel Mills (GSM) Dubai and Zia admitted that as per documents, Nawaz had no role in the establishment of GSM, its sale and consequent investment with the Qatari royal family. Further hearing will be held on Monday.