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Friday Mar 09 2018

Chaudhry Sarwar declared himself ‘British national’ till September 2016 in UK, records show

PTI leader Chaudhry Sarwar was elected to the Senate from Punjab. Photo: File 

LONDON: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leader and Senator-elect Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar claims he renounced his British nationality on July 2, 2013 but the records of UK Companies House show that Mohammad Sarwar declared himself as being a British National up until  September 21, 2016 in the papers filed with the Company House UK.

Record available with The News shows that Mohammad Sarwar showed himself as British National from July 2013 (the time he claims to have withdrawn his nationality) till September 21, 2016 when he became director of his company Kidz Kingdom Ltd (Company number SC373572).

Records show that Sarwar had resigned and subsequently renewed his “Directorship” in 2016 whilst apparently maintaining his shareholding. He also declared himself as being a Pakistani national in 2016 but remains as “Active Director” and shareholder in the Kidz Kingdom Ltd – retaining interest – which means he is currently employed by his UK company. The other shareholder and director of the same company is Sarwar’s wife.

Official papers show that Mohammad Sarwar retained pecuniary (financial) interest in his two UK companies – and earned money – in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 but it’s not known if he declared his full business interest and earnings from these companies with the Election Commission (ECP) of Pakistan and the relevant taxation department.

When contacted by The News, Sarwar said his UK and Pakistani accountants work together and they must have filed the correct information with the ECP, reflecting his full earnings.

The businessman from Glasgow and former Governor Punjab earned a healthy income as director and shareholder from the United Wholesale Scotland Ltd (Scotland, SC224822) up until he resigned on 9th May 2016 as “director”. Papers filed with the Companies House show that Muhammad Sarwar’s company made £1.7 million in 2015 and £1.6 million in 2016. Sarwar remains shareholder of around 33% in the company – the highest percentage of shares.

Record filed by Sarwar’s United Wholesale with the Companies House stated that it was pleased to report “continuing growth in its core business of supplying independent retailers with comprehensive range of products” despite competition. It posted a turnover for the year £234 million which saw an increase of almost £6.8 million from 2015.

The United Wholesale said on page 2 that the profit for the year after taxation amounted to £1,668,134 (2015 - £1,722,912). "A dividend of £2,333,632 was proposed and paid during the year,” – par of which must have gone to Sarwar as a shareholder. For the year 2016, Sarwar's cash and carry's turnover was around £234 million. In 2015, the turnover was £226 million. The rental receivable of the United Wholesale in 2016 was around £180,000 in rental income and in 2015 the rental income was £385.677.

It says one the same page that the directors who served that year were: Mohammad Sarwar (resigned 9 may 2016); Mel G Saxton (resigned 20 April 2016); Asim Sarwar; Razvan Syyed (appointed 9 May 2016) and Bernard John (appointed 9 May 2016).

Papers of Companies House reveal that Mohammad Sarwar earned dividend income of at least £40,000 each in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and £60,000 in 2016 from the United Wholesale Limited.

Furthermore, Sarwar borrowed money of around £0.5 million from his company during 2015 and 2016. Finally, it appears that he issued a personal guarantee of £1 million on behalf of the company.

Records show that Muhammad Sarwar took a loan for Kidz Kingdom from United National Bank’s London branch on 31st Dec 2013 – a few months after withdrawing his British nationality. It’s not clear whether Sarwar showed his British passport to get this loan or Pakistani passport and a spokesman of UBL’s London office refused to comment. Sarwar said that he took the loan in 2010 and not 2013 but the bank record shows the loan was taken in the last month of 2013.

Chaudhary Sarwar told The News he rescind his nationality before he took oath as the governor of Punjab and it wasn’t possible for him to write letters to each and every department to inform about his decision. When told that he’s responsible for the papers filed by his businesses to the Company House which mentioned him as a “British national” – and signed by all directors and shareholders, he said his accountants were responsible for the filing of papers.

Sarwar told a news channel this week that he travels abroad on his Pakistani passport and has “multiple visa to visit the UK”. According to UK immigration rules, a visitor cannot work in the UK unless he has permission from the Home Office to be a director of a company or in any position which potentially generates income.

In what could be described as “British Iqama” of the PTI leader, the Supreme Court of Pakistan could ask Sarwar a number of questions if he has not declared the full scale of his financial interests and earning in Britain in the nomination papers filed in Pakistan.

A PTI source said that Jahangir Tareen was disqualified for not declaring his Hyde House in London and Nawaz Sharif disqualified for not taking salary from his son and for keeping Iqama and if same standards applied then Sarwar will have to explain each and every penny that he earned in Britain and whether or not he declared these earning in declaration forms with the ECP.

Originally published in The News

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