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Sunday April 14, 2024

AC rejects Nawaz, Maryam, Capt Safdar’s application for travelling abroad

By Faisal Kamal Pasha
June 08, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court here on Thursday dismissed an application of former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (R) Safdar seeking exemptions from personal appearance for four days commencing from June 11 till June 15.

The applicants had been seeking exemption for travelling to London to see ailing Kulsoom Nawaz whom doctors have suggested to undergo a surgery. The three applicants also attached with the application a medical report. Counsel for the applicants, Zaafir Khan Tareen argued before the court that Kulsoom Nawaz is a cancer patient and receiving treatment in London.

Last time the accused had filed an exemption application in November 2017 that was accepted, while the court later on Thursday dismissed two applications seeking exemptions.

The NAB prosecutor argued that the accused are running away from justice and they want to escape by taking exemption and going to London. He said there is nothing very serious in the medical report and since the two accused are already absconding, if the remaining were allowed to leave, no one will be there to face the court proceedings.

The AC Judge Muhammad Bashir while dismissing this application adjourned the hearing till today (Friday). Earlier, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Deputy Prosecutor General (DPG) Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi said during the proceedings in Avenfield apartments corruption reference that the ownership of London flats by Sharif family is evident from the fact that in the case of Al-Towfeek Investment Company against Hudabiya Paper Mills, Justice Queen’s Bench Division in London, in 1999 had put a ‘Caution’ on the Avenfield apartments.

“Had those flats been owned by the Qatari royal family, they must have had approached the court and said that this is their property. However, they didn’t come forward, and instead the Sharif family defended that case and settled a loan of $8 million,” he said.

The DPG said there is no clue how that money was paid and from what resources. He said Mossack Fonseca correspondence with Financial Investigation Agency of British Virgin Islands (FIA-BVI) in 2012 clearly establishes that Maryam Nawaz was the beneficial owner of London flats and trust deeds produced by Hussain Nawaz were fake. He said it was also supported by the documents of Samba Bank from 2002 till 2005 that thanked Maryam Nawaz for acquiring their services.

“Since Maryam Nawaz had no independent source of income, therefore, it could be said that the property belongs to Nawaz Sharif who implied Maryam Nawaz to conceal real ownership of the flats and the ownership was accepted in 2006 when an amendment was made to the law and the ownership of offshore companies could not be concealed anymore,” the DPG said.

He said Qatari Prince Hamad bin Jasim has provided no proofs for the settlement of $8 million with Al-Towfeek Investment Company and he also had no proof for the transfer of bearer shares certificates to Hussain Nawaz in 2006 as it has been claimed by the accused.

Muzaffar Abbasi said the joint investigation team (JIT) made seven attempts to associate Jasim in its investigation, but he did not. “While this case is pending before this court, there was an opportunity for the accused to make Hamad bin Jasim appear before the court that they didn’t. Nawaz Sharif in his addresses to the nation, and National Assembly had been consistently claiming that they got all the proofs, money trail and they are ready to produce before a court of law. When they appeared before a court of law they didn’t produce any evidence,” he said.

The DPG said the JIT through Quist Solicitor had written letters to Jeremy Freeman to know about the veracity of trust deeds. Replies of Jeremy Freeman however were not only evasive, but he also said that he would not appear before any court or investigation. He said Jeremy Freeman had endorsed that the copies of trust deed attached with the letter were genuine.

The DPG said that if the accused wanted to deny the expert opinion of Robert Radley regarding fake trust deed, they should have produced another expert that they didn’t. Quoting from the legal opinion of a law firm Gilead Cooper, Muzaffar Abbasi said that according to that firm, trust deeds were concocted and fabricated.

“We have submitted the TV interviews of the accused before the court and now they cannot rebut what they said. Instead, the money trail they provided has gone rebutted and they could bring no convincing evidence to support their claim, he said.

As far Radley’s testimony, the DPG said he had accepted that ‘Calibri’ font was available in 2005 but it was not commercially available in the market.