Panama case: Money trail for London flats still not provided, remarks SC

Panama case: Money trail for London flats still not provided, remarks SC

Islamabad (Staff Report): Money trail for London flats is still not being provided by the respondent, remarks the Supreme Court as the special bench of the apex court resumed hearing on the third consecutive day following the submission of the final report by the Panama case Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Harris on Wednesday told the three-member apex bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, that the PM had provided details of all assets and sources of income in the form of tax returns.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed that the ruling family did not produce any document to establish Hussain Nawaz (PM’s son) was the original owner of London flats but the JIT, on the other hand, found out that Maryam Nawaz (PM’s daughter) was the real owner of those apartments.

The SC judge further questioned why the prime minister claimed on the floor of Parliament that all relevant documents are available to show the source of funds used to obtain the offshore properties.

Counsel for Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also submitted his arguments raising objections to the JIT report.

Lawyer for children of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would present his arguments before the court tomorrow (Thursday).

After hearing the arguments, the court adjourned the case till tomorrow.

 Meanwhile, a Dubai law firm has submitted a legal opinion to Pakistan's Supreme Court on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's alleged employment in Dubai, verifying that the employment documents which imply he was employed by Capital FZE in Jebel Ali Freezone (Jafza) in Dubai until 2014 are 100 per cent legal.

The legal firm Khalifa bin Huwaidan Advocates was consulted by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that has submitted a 254-page report to the Pakistan's Supreme Court into Nawaz' family wealth.

The court held its first hearing on Monday to decide the fate of the prime minister who is contesting the corruption investigation. He has denied any wrong doing.

The Dubai law firm submitted its report to the Supreme Court on Monday, Khalifa bin Huwaidan, lawyer and legal advisor at the firm, told Khaleej Times.

"Normally businessmen establish companies in Dubai if they want to maintain a visa status in the company but in this case, (Nawaz Sharif) was an employee in a Jafza-based firm," he confirmed.

Khalifa's conclusion was based on the copy of the labour contract Nawaz had with Capital FZE, and said "The contract is 100 per cent legal."

The legal opinion has been readied based on the UAE labour laws, he said. It earlier emerged that Nawaz Sharif was employed as chairman of the board for Capital FZE company in Jafza from August 2006 to April 2014 and was withdrawing a salary of Dh10,000. However, his employment status was terminated in 2014 after the company was dissolved. This was a year after he became the prime minister of Pakistan for the third time.

The Sharif family has denied that a salary was withdrawn and said that the visa was to facilitate visits to the UAE. However, as per the UAE Labour Law, all employees have to receive a salary through a bank account under the UAE's Wage Protection System (WPS), failing which the firm can be blacklisted and shut down.

Also as per the UAE law, if no record of a salary transfer to the bank is found, the employer is held liable not the employee. However, it is not clear who owned Capital FZE before it was dissolved.

Hussain Nawaz, son of Nawaz Sharif has rejected the JIT findings that his father was being paid by the Dubai firm. He said that his father never received any salary from the aforesaid company. Hussain said that his father was appointed as chairman only for facilitation of visa and visits to the UAE in 2006.

The JIT report has also revealed that Nawaz did not disclose this information before running for the highest public office in 2013 which is against the Constitution of Pakistan. The JIT findings are based on its correspondence with Jafza.