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National

July 7, 2018
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Establishing ownership of London flats difficult: judgment

National

July 7, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: The accountability court in Avenfield Apartments case has admitted that establishing the ownership of Avenfield flats is difficult in the absence of relevant documents. However, according to the judgement, Nawaz is the real owner of London flats because the prosecution has succeeded to establish that Sharif family has been living in these apartments since 90s.

According to the operative part of the Avenfield Apartment case judgement, the age of accused Maryam Safdar was 18 years and ages of her brothers (co-accused) were about 20 and 17 in the year 1993. They were not financially strong during this period and had no source of income to purchase those apartments. However, during the same era, accused no. 1 Nawaz Sharif and his father used to reside in the said apartments. Thus, the prosecution has succeeded to establish on the basis of this presumption that Nawaz Sharif is the real owner of these flats.

As per the judgement, it was difficult to establish ownership of properties which was purchased through offshore companies formed in tax haven jurisdiction due to veils of secrecy. Certain laws were made during 2003-04 by BVI Govt. hence, bear shares were to be converted into registered shares and the name of owner and other particulars were to be disclosed.

“Avenfield apartments have been purchased during the years 1993, 1995 and 1996 through offshore companies Nielson Enterprises and Nescol Ltd. Certain documents have shown that accused Maryam Nawaz has remained beneficial owner of those companies prior to 2006. The year from which handing over of bearer shares of two companies Nielson and Nescol are alleged by accused Maryam Nawaz and her brothers, co-accused. Two letters and worksheet were produced before the Supreme Court of Pakistan but those were found not real by the JIT. The judgment says both the letters are based on hearsay.

It is further said in the judgement that the age of accused Maryam Safdar was 18 years and ages of her brothers (co-accused) were about 20 and 17 in years 1993. They had no source of income to purchase those apartments. Analysis charts of assets and liabilities prepared by the JIT are showing their sources of income.

“Generally children remain dependent on their parents during their tender ages, therefore, accused No. 1 cannot say that he had not provided any money to them to purchase the apartments. The Avenfield apartments had remained in possession of the accused as stated in interviews by Hassan Nawaz,” says the judgement.

The judgement further says that the accused Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz even accused Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Safdar has never stated that the bearer shares of two companies were procured as a result of investment with Qatari royal family in their interview/speech.

Withholding of relevant documents from the court can be presumed as that submission of documents would be adverse to interest of withholder of the documents.

Nawaz Sharif has also not stated in his speech dated 16.05.2016 that Avenfield apartments were acquired by accused Hussain Nawaz as a result of an investment amounting to AED 12 million by Mian Muhammad Sharif with Al-Thani family. The sudden appearance of letters of Al-Thani is managed subsequent to their interview/speech. The other documents show that Maryam Nawaz is beneficial owner of the Avenfield apartments even prior to year 2006.

Thus the prosecution has succeeded to establish the possession of accused on the Avenfield apartments even during 90s and admittedly they are in possession at present.

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