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Friday Oct 13 2017

Content of ‘secret deed’ can determine ownership of London Flats: NAB

Officials deliver the final report of the Panama Papers case JIT to the Supreme Court. Photo: File 

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) believes that the content of a secret deed between the Sharif family and Al-Towfeek Investment Fund in a London court in 1999 is the key in determining the ownership of the Park Lane Flats. 

Both parties reached an agreement through which an issue of loan default by the Hudabiya Paper Mills was settled. However, the plaintiff (Al-Towfeek Investment Fund) and defendants (Sharif family) agreed to keep the deed secret, which was endorsed by the court.

“The deed is sealed and not available for public scrutiny in the United Kingdom and the accused persons, during proceedings of the [Panama Papers case] JIT did not give their consent for disclosure of the said deed. By executing this settlement deed the accused persons cleared the liability of Al-Tofeek Investment Fund and got their prosperities released from the said charging order by way of draft consent order available at page 189-90, Volume-IV of JIT report,” revealed NAB's Interim Investigation Report clubbed with references filed against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his sons Hussain and Hasan Nawaz, daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Mohammad Safdar.

“The whole proceedings before the London Court is a clear reflector of the fact that Al-Thani family [of Qatar] had no concern whatsoever with the said apartments as they would have been arrayed as party to the proceedings or after creation of changing/charging order over subject property, they themselves had joined the proceedings before the London Court had that been the case,” revealed a 20-page report prepared by Investigation Officer (IO) Mohammad Imran. 

This is the only additional document NAB submitted with the trial court in this case where the IO has counted 24 aspects of this case in light of the Panama JIT report.

“On account of loan default by Hudabiya Paper Mills, Al-Towfeek Investment Fund filed a plaint before Queens Bench, Division of High Court Justice, England against Hudabiya Paper Mills and others for recovery of Loan. On 26th October, 1999 Mr. Shezi Nacqvi representing the plaintiff filed witness statement with the High Court in support of an application for a charging order over the Avenfield Apartments in favour of the plaintiff. The said order of British court clearly declared that the defendants namely Hudabiya Paper Mills, Mian Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Abbas Sharif of the suit had a beneficial interest in the Avenfield Apartments upon creation of charging order (by London court). The said charging order was also served upon the defendants in Pakistan through a law firm namely Orr, Dignam and Co, Advocates through Mr Mazhar Bangash. The defendants/Sharif family etc. settled the matter by way of a settlement deed, a draft of which is attached at page No. 205-211 (Volume-IV of JIT report),” revealed the report. 

Panama case JIT head Wajid Zia. Photo: File

The IO wants to broaden the scope of the investigation to National Bank of Pakistan President Saeed Ahmed, All Pakistan Sugar Mills Association Chairman Javed Kiani, Musa Ghani and Tariq Shafi, under Mutual Legal Assistance in particular.

“It is pertinent to mention here that previously the then deputy chairman NAB vide letter authorized investigation against the accused no. one and others on same allegations to DG FIA Islamabad, for investigation. Later the then Chairman NAB again authorized subject case to DG FIA Islamabad for investigation. The case files of instant investigation available in record of NAB Lahore have been thoroughly examined and scrutinised which revealed that FIA Islamabad has not submitted investigation report of the instant case,” it was further revealed. 

An important statement of Panama JIT head Wajid Zia has also been clubbed with this report which reads: “I as head of the JIT was authorized by the federal government through a notification to exercise the powers under section 21 of the National Accountability Ordinance which deals with international cooperation request for MLA. 

The JIT during investigation received documents which are part of the export and the original documents have been handed over to the registrar supreme court: Response of British Virgin Island vide letter no. AGC SS5/1/2/p dated July 4, 2017 to our request under MLA. These are key documents regarding the investigation of Avenfield Apartments as discussed in details in the report. Response of United Arab Emirates vide letter no INA68/2017 dated June 28, 2017 to our request Mutual Legal Assistance. These are key documents, as discussed details in the report in relation to negating the claimed money trail emanating from sale of Gulf Steel Mill, investment with the Qatari Prince and leading to ownership of Avenfield Apartments, setting up of Azizia Stell Mill and Hill Metal Establishment by respondent no. 7 as well as setting up of companies by respondent no. 8. Documentary evidence collected from Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority by a team of JIT which was authorized to collect such evidence/record. Two expert reports of The Radiery Forensic Document Laboratory dated 4th of July and 8th of July 2017.”

Mazhar Raza Khan Bangash also confirmed to NAB in his statement under section 161 of CPRC that “he served the order on the defendants and the creditors in the manner as provided in the Affidavit of Service. Those contents of the affidavit are correct to the best of his belief and knowledge. During our discussion he was also shown the first written statement of Mr Shezi Nackvi which has been referred to in the order as well as the Affidavit of Service. Although he felt that the same is the one referred to in the order and the affidavit, he recommended that the same be reconfirmed from Orr, Digna and Co Advocates where he was then an associate and upon whose instruction he served the Order on the defendants and creditors. The statement of said Mazhar Bangash clearly reflects that the order of Queens Court London was duly served on the accused persons in accordance with law and creation of charge to the extent of interest of the defendants in the Avenfield Apartments was well within the knowledge of the Sharif family,” reads the report.

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