Our Announcements

Not Found

Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here.

Posts Tagged Panamagate

Panamagate: Not A Historic Decision For Sure BY Asfandyar Khan Tareen from Courting the Law

Panamagate: Not A Historic Decision For Sure

Panama Papers

Panamagate: Not A Historic Decision For Sure

Sorry to say but the short order announced in the Panama case today (on 20 April 2017) by the Supreme Court of Pakistan does not seem like a historic decision at all, I find it to be a less than average decision which shall not serve as a useful and leading precedent in the years to come. I have no interest in reading some 500 pages of academic debate and sophisticated legal discussion when the end result (i.e. the Prime Minister not being liable to be disqualified) is zero – absolutely flawed.

It is quite disappointing to see the apex court employing judicial restraint while judicially reviewing the alleged concealment of properties, evasion of tax, benami transactions, money laundering by the Prime Minister and most importantly his eligibility to sit in Parliament. This matter could have become a landmark decision, if at all, if it involved accountability of the powerful leader who did not consider himself to be a servant of the public but a badshah salamat and ameer-ul-momineen. I am only interested in reading the minority view of the honourable Justices Asif Saeed Khan Khosa J and Gulzar Ahmed J which held otherwise.

There is a famous proverb in Urdu “kya achar dalna hai?” said in the context of unnecessary, unimportant and petty things. I would like to use it in the factual syntax of the constitution of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. What are we going to do with this JIT when the accused is still sitting as the Prime Minister of Pakistan? What good is this JIT to the general public of Pakistan that had all eyes fixated on the Supreme Court to finally uphold the maxim “no one is above the rule of law” by making PM accountable for his actions?

There is a “real apprehension of bias” against this so-called JIT in the absence of PM’s resignation. No matter how bright the members of this JIT are, it is beyond reasonable doubt that this JIT cannot perform its functions impartially, fearlessly, properly or independently. Who has the courage to find anything against the head of state? The influence of the mighty mafia will dominate. The members of the JIT are either employees of the federal government or fall under its jurisdiction in some way or the other. The real apprehension of JIT being institutionally biased has been created by the Supreme Court of Pakistan itself when it could have safeguarded the independence of judiciary in order to maintain the confidence of general public in the judiciary and the rule of law.

It seems that the backward people of this backward country will have to wait some more for its backward judiciary to finally hold that nobody is above the law, that the powerful and the weak are equal in the eyes of law, that the representatives of people are answerable to the general public, and finally that even the Prime Minister is accountable. The majority view has made Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution redundant by failing to disqualify the Prime Minister when there were overwhelming and clear pieces of evidence proving that the Prime Minister lied in the Assembly and adopted inconsistent stances to escape the liability, which does not make him sadiq and ameen. It is well-settled that redundancy cannot be attributed to any provision of the Constitution but frankly, the majority view has made qualifications and disqualification provided in the Constitution redundant. Thus the ruling goes not only against the country but also against the intention of the framers of the Constitution.

The founding fathers of the country and our ancestors did not struggle for an independent country to promote slavery, dishonesty, nepotism, bigotry and corruption. We are an independent nation, we are all equal and our leaders are not above the law. Maybe only the minority view understood this clearly.

 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CourtingTheLaw.com or any organization with which he might be associated.

Asfandyar Khan Tareen

The writer is a Barrister from Lincoln’s Inn and heads Tareen Barristers Chambers in Lahore. He can be contacted at ayk@tareen.com.pk

 

, ,

No Comments

WHAT A JOKE — RECORD OF PROPERTY BOUGHT IN 2006 WAS LOST DURING 1999 MARTIAL LAW!

Panamagate: No record for Sharifs’ past business dealings, counsel tells Supreme Court

HASEEB BHATTI 

in DAWN, Pakistan

As the Supreme Court resumed hearing the Panamagate case on Wednesday, Advocate Salman Akram Raja picked up his arguments where he had left them off.

After welcoming Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed — whose sudden illness had forced a suspension in the case’s daily hearings — Raja reminded the court that “this is neither a trial nor the defendant a witness.”

“I will only argue this case based on the evidence present,” Raja, who represents Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, continued.

The record for the Sharif family’s business dealings for the last 40 to 45 years cannot be reproduced, the counsel said, as “it was lost during the 1999 martial law.”

The matter can be sent to relevant departments for inquiry as the Arsalan Iftikhar case determined that trials for cases can be held at corresponding forums, Salman Akram Raja told the court.

“A court has never conducted an independent inquiry in any criminal case,” Raja argued, adding that Article 10 of the Constitution says that every citizen of this country deserves a fair trial and that departments formed under the law should be allowed to do their job.

“There is no charge against the Prime Minister, so there is no charge against his children either,” he continued.

“If we suppose that the PM’s children are his employees, according to the National Accountability Bureau’s laws, then the burden of proof does not fall on the defendants,” Raja argued in court.

“This is not a criminal court, so even if Hassan and Hussain Nawaz are suspected, there is no proof against them,” he added.

There were eight questions that the court posed to the defendants, including the relationship between Mian Mohammad Sharif and the Al Sani family, the shares in Nielsen and Nescoll, and the profits the family gained from them, the counsel recalled.

Lawyer Salman Akbar said that Sharif family has ties with more than one Qatari royal family but he cannot disclose the name of other royal families before the court due to certain reasons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“There were questions about the trust deed as well, and in this hearing, I will answer all these questions,” he told the court.

Justice Khosa advised Raja that he should first finish his arguments before answering the court’s questions.

Moving on to the matter of the London flats, Hussain Nawaz’s counsel argued that the flats were bought by the Al Thani family between 1993 and 1996.

“The Sharif family did not own the flats in 1999, as Hussain Nawaz was given the bearer certificate to the flats by the Al Thani family,” Raja argued. He added that the shares for the flats were given to Minerva Financial Services in 2006.

Upon hearing this argument, Justice Azmat Saeed asked the counsel to provide a paper trail for these transactions, and said, “You have been moving from one point to the other since the beginning, but have failed to provide any evidence in this regard.”

The allegation is that Maryam Nawaz contacted Minerva Holdings, Raja retorted, upon this, the bench asked that evidence should be proved that Hussain Nawaz is the beneficial owner of the offshore companies.

PTI’s new evidence

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) had announced on Tuesday that it would submit three more documents to disprove the stance adopted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, but the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is not convinced.

“We are submitting three more documents — one from PTI chairman Imran Khan that authenticates all previous documents presented by the party, the expert opinion of UK-based lawyers and a document that proves that Maryam Nawaz is the owner of UK-based firms Minerva, Nielson and Nescoll,” PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry told a press conference.

He said that Imran Khan would submit an affidavit stating that all documents previously submitted by the party were credible and authentic.

PML-N MNA Daniyal Aziz told Dawn that PTI’s lawyers had already completed their arguments and submitted all the evidence they had to the apex court. “Once they have completed their arguments, how can they file more documents?”

 

From The Guardian. London Archival Report

Search for the millions Sharif ‘stole’

The investigator Pakistan’s PM could not stop


They tortured Rehman Malik by placing his hands and feet on ice for up to an hour at a time at a ‘safe house’ in Islamabad. Three years on, he still has trouble feeling sensations in his palms and soles from the punishment, meted out in black masks, by Nawaz Sharif’s heavies.His neck, too, bears the painful crick from a year spent in solitary confinement in a tiny cell at Rawalpindi’s Adila jail with a brick wrapped in newspapers for a pillow. Malik, in mortal fear of convicted terrorists and official hatchet men, found his monthly half-hour visit from his seven-year-old son his single comfort.

Three times following his arrest in November 1996 the courts ordered Malik’s release. Each time he was re-arrested on trumped up charges until, after 12 months of humiliation, the Pakistani Supreme Court itself ruled his detention illegal.

Malik’s crime? To have been the deputy head of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Pakistan’s equivalent of the FBI, investigating allegations of massive corruption by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his family, and cronies.

At 46, he was the youngest officer to reach such a senior rank, the equivalent of an army major-general. In a 20-year career, Malik had gained an impressive reputation in the West for anti-terrorist expertise, including investigation of the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing in New York and of Saudi fundamentalist Osama bin Laden. And, after Malik’s inquiries were publicized by The Observer last year, he started a ball rolling which culminated in the coup against Sharif. ‘I have suffered enormously from doing my duty as a civil servant. My friends, family, and colleagues have been harassed. My life has been at risk,’ Malik told The Observer in his first UK interview since fleeing Pakistan for London after an attempt on his life 15 months ago. ‘I am not a politician, but I welcome the army’s action. They have saved Pakistan from someone who was ruining the country. As a career officer, I would like to return to fulfill my official obligations as soon as possible.’

He is also promising further explosive revelations, which will implicate Sharif and senior Muslim League politicians in allegedly creaming off more of the country’s wealth overseas.

Malik’s report last year was painful enough for the deposed Prime Minister, as were the cat-and-mouse tactics by which Malik has been a thorn in his side since. The 200-page report, smuggled into the country on Sharif’s official Jumbo jet, set out a secret web of fake bank accounts and firms in offshore tax havens through which Sharif’s family allegedly siphoned off more than $70 million (£40m) into London property, Swiss investments and banks in New York.

The family, whose empire grew hugely while Sharif was in office, was also accused of defaulting on $120m of state bank loans, a favourite way of milking the public purse.

According to further documents seen by The Observer, however, the revelations appear to be the tip of an iceberg. Following inquiries over the past year, Malik says he has established further channels by which the Sharif family channelled money illegally offshore.

They include $2.74m allegedly deposited in the account of an Essex-based Pakistani family at the Atlas BOT (Bank of Tokyo) Investment Bank in Lahore as security for loans to four Sharif family members. They also include $4.6m deposited at the Al Faysal Investment Bank in Islamabad as security for a loan to Hamza Board Mills, a paper, and forestry firm in the Sharif family’s Ittefaq group.

Among all his amassed wealth, Sharif also appears to have concealed ownership of a Russian-made Ulan helicopter, which he used during election campaigns. The aircraft, worth more than $1m, was bought from an Arab prince, Sheikh Abdul Rehman Bin Nasir Al Thani of Qatar, in November 1996 and registered in Sharif’s name at the Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority, according to official documents obtained by Malik. It was, however, not declared on Sharif’s statutory filing of assets and liabilities to the country’s Election Commission. ‘This was a man who once told me he could not afford a second-hand Mercedes. How then could he buy a helicopter?’ Malik asks.

Most explosive of all, however, is likely to be Malik’s new investigation, which is almost concluded and alleges laundering of more than $100m offshore via a network of UK trusts, Swiss accounts and offshore havens including Liechtenstein.

An Observer investigation has revealed other instances of alleged corruption during Sharif’s last administration:

• In an emergency budget after Pakistan’s nuclear tests last year, import duties on luxury cars were cut from 325 per cent to 125 per cent. A week later they were restored. In between a friend of Sharif imported 80 cars.

• In 1996 senior figures at Bankers Equity Limited, a finance house granted a huge loan, believed to be more than £10m, to close associates of Sharif. Last summer the bank collapsed and several senior managers, including a friend of Sharif’s, were arrested. The loan is outstanding.

• After the 1997 elections the Sharif family and their business concerns were able to reschedule and renegotiate loans worth nearly £100m from eight banks. When ordered by courts to pay some back they surrendered 33 factories. Only one factory was fully operational, the rest closed, out of order, or both.

Sharif, his family, and former Ministers have consistently dismissed the allegations as politically inspired.

Sharif himself is still in ‘preventative custody’, as the army calls it, in a government guesthouse on the outskirts of Islamabad. General Pervez Musharraf, the self-appointed Chief Executive of Pakistan, has not revealed his plans for the man ousted in a coup 10 days ago. Military sources say the evidence is being gathered to put Sharif on trial for corruption and possibly treason.

Sharif’s former residence, the 100-acre Raiwind estate, near the city of Lahore in eastern Pakistan, is widely seen as a symbol of the opulent lifestyle the Sharifs have led since their pursuit of power and wealth began to pay off 15 years ago. Last week The Observer was the first Western newspaper to visit it since Sharif’s fall.

Brand new roads lead out of Lahore, where the Sharifs have two other houses, to the walled 100-acre estate. A turning leads to a helicopter pad and a set of steel gates. Beyond is an open, grassy compound where five houses, all in white-washed villa style, lie in a rough circle around a man-made pond. Each has a huge colonnaded porch sheltering a £20,000 four-wheel drive Jeep. Two of the buildings are partially constructed as is a pool, though a lake stocked with fish is completed. There is a small zoo.

All the houses are similar, with deep red carpets and velvet curtains throughout. Sharif’s own house is distinguished by the number of televisions – the Prime Minister was gadget crazy. Now army machine gunners have replaced the bodyguards who previously watched the compound’s perimeter. And the muzzles of their weapons point in as much as out.

Raiwind is, to the ousted Prime Minister’s critics at least, a symbol of how his administration manipulated government to benefit itself.

According to opposition spokesmen, Sharif has ‘used public office for personal economic gain’. It is corruption, they say, even if it is within the letter of the law.

Soon after coming to power for a second time in February 1997 Sharif declared the Raiwind site to be the ‘Prime Minister’s Camp Office’ – his home away from the capital. The local municipal authority took on the estate’s maintenance at an estimated annual cost of 40 million Pakistani rupees (£500,000) and built a new road for it, while the state has also supplied gas, electricity and a 200-line telephone exchange.

Near Raiwind last week feelings were mixed about Sharif’s fall. Many remain loyal to a man they see as a local boy made good. ‘He has done a lot around here,’ said Ahmadullah Ali, a farmer. ‘He is a good man.’ In the rough and tumble world of Pakistani politics, Sharif may be down, but he still isn’t out.

 Reference Courtesy

, , ,

No Comments

Panamagate hearing: Third offshore company of Sharifs crops up by By Hasnaat Malik The Express Tribune,Pakistan: December 1st, 2016.

xrepo

Panamagate hearing: Third offshore company of Sharifs crops up

By Hasnaat Malik

Published: December 1, 2016

 

ISLAMABAD: Until now we knew that Premier Nawaz Sharif’s children owned two offshore companies — Nescol Ltd and Nielsen Enterprises Ltd — but now a third company, Coomber Group, has cropped up while the Sharif family is struggling to prove the money trail for the purchase of luxury flats in London.

In the documents submitted to the Supreme Court in the Panamagate case, the Sharif family has attached two different deeds where Maryam Safdar is a trustee of her brother’s companies.

London flats were bought through Qatari investments, Sharif family tells SC

On February 2, 2006, Premier Sharif’s daughter signed a declaration with her brother Hussain Nawaz as a trustee in his two companies Nescol and Nielsen. The same day, she signed a similar declaration with him for another company, Coomber Group, in which he owns 49% shares.

This third company is likely to be the focus of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s legal team in the next hearing scheduled for December 6.

After a two-week hiatus when a five-member bench of the apex court resumed hearing on Wednesday, the PTI legal team raised more than 10 questions to establish their case.

Agreeing to some of the arguments put forward by PTI’s lead counsel Naeem Bukhari, some judges observed that the Sharif family was ‘hiding’ facts about the ownership of the offshore companies as some necessary documents still seem to be missing in their replies.

The judges also raised questions on the money trail the Sharif family has so far submitted before the court and pointed out missing links. The missing details included banking transactions or any other channels through which money had been transferred from Dubai to Qatar and then to London to acquire the expensive property in an upscale neighborhood of London.

One of the judges also pointed out that there were two contradictory descriptions on the part of the Sharif family. One was narrated by the prime minister on the floor of parliament, claiming his family had set up a factory in Jeddah in 1999 using money from the Gulf Steel Mills it had established in Dubai, and later the Saudi factory had been sold to buy London properties.

Panama leaks case: PTI submits ‘evidence’ against Sharif family

Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, agreeing with Bukhari’s contention, said that the other narrative came from the written replies the Sharif family has submitted before the court in which the Jeddah factory has no mention and the money trail has been directly established from selling the UAE factory to investments with the Qatari royal family.

An affidavit submitted on behalf of a Qatari prince claims that the London flats had been given in the ownership of Hussain Nawaz in 2006 as part of a business deal against investments made by his late grandfather with his family in the real estate business in the early 1980s.

To substantiate this account, the Sharif family had submitted another affidavit from Tariq Shafi, a cousin of Premier Nawaz who actually owned the business in Dubai in the 1970s. According to him, he was working on behalf of his uncle, the late father of Premier Nawaz. All shares in those businesses in Dubai were sold in 1980, generating 12 million UAE dirhams. The bench observed that Shafi’s signature on the affidavit did not match with the signature on the agreement.

Bukhari contended that despite having a liability of 14 million dirhams to Bank of Credit & Commerce International Dubai (BCCI), the Sharif family had invested 12 million dirhams in Qatar in 1980. He went on to state that there was not a single document produced by the Sharif family to establish how the money had been sent from Pakistan to Dubai, Qatar, Jeddah, and London.

Justice Asif Khosa observed that there was no banking trail of transfer of money from Dubai to London. He, however, asked the PTI counsel to establish that the Sharif family was the owner of these flats prior to 2006.

Nawaz family used offshore firms to own UK properties

“If you establish a connection with this property prior to 2006, then the burden of proof will be shifted to other side. Show us the connection as this is your entire case,” Justice Khosa observed. However, he said Premier Nawaz in his speeches talked about the trail of the money as he may forget.

Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh, who has expertise in white-collar crimes, raised several questions about the money trail of the Sharif family’s London flats. No explanation has been given about how the family had cleared liability to the BCCI. He also observed that there was no explanation from the Sharif family that how had they gotten the money to set up Jeddah Steel Mills.

He was also surprised how the respondents had hidden the name of the owner of the Minerva Officer Limited, which was a shareholder of Nielsen and Nescol in 1994.

“No supportive document has been submitted to establish the ownership of Minerva. Why this information is being hidden from the bench,” Justice Azmat remarked. The judge also observed that the bench was conducting the inquisitorial proceedings in this matter.

Earlier, Bukhari pointed out that Premier Sharif has made contradictory statements regarding the ownership of the London flats. He also stated that the prime minister has evaded tax, adding that Marriam Nawaz Sharif was a dependent and remain a dependent. The Qatari prince’s letter has totally negated the prime minister’s earlier stance.

The case was adjourned until next Tuesday.

Courtesy:

Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st, 2016.

, ,

No Comments


Skip to toolbar