SC grills FBR, NAB chiefs over Panama Leaks probe

SC grills FBR, NAB chiefs over Panama Leaks probe

Panamagate case: Supreme Court on Tuesday heard petitions seeking a probe into Panama papers.

As a five-member larger bench of the apex court resumed the hearing, National Accountability Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry and Federal Board of Revenue chairman Dr. Mohammad Irshad are present in court room before the five-member larger bench to present relevant record regarding the alleged money laundering of Sharif family.

FBR chairman informed the court the board contacted foreign ministry immediately after Panama papers surfaced but the name of offshore firm and its director was not enough to take necessary action.

He said that notices were issued to 343 individuals following the Panama leaks, adding that the owners of 39 companies were not Pakistani residents and 59 people denied ownership of offshore companies.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's sons Hasan and Hussain Nawaz as well as his daughter Maryam had responded to the notices issued to them by the bureau in November 2016, he claimed.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa inquired whether Maryam Nawaz in her response mentioned about her status as trustee.

To this, FBR head expressed that Maryam did not mention anything about this.

Maryam Nawaz’s response as quoted by FBR chief stated that she was not the owner of offshore firm and owned no property outside Pakistan.

Justice Azmat Saeed went a bit furious and remarked that the chairman FBR spent a year for an activity that could merely be completed in seven hours. He expressed that it needed just an hour to check as to who was residing outside Pakistan. He asked FBR official to present record as to when he contacted relevant organisations regarding travel history.

After FBR, chairman, prosecutor general NAB took the floor to clarify the position of NAB regarding Panama Leaks.

 Justice Asif Saeed Khosa inquired whether NAB’s prosecutor would represent NAB chairman or assist the five-member bench. He also asked as to who was NAB’s regulator.

To this, NAB’s prosecutor replied that he would assist the five-member bench as NAB’s representative. NAB’s chairman expressed before the apex court that the graft-buster was well aware of its responsibilities. He expressed that the matter was discussed in public accounts committee in September 2016.

Court adjourned the hearing of the case till Wednesday.