Friday Mar 26 2021

'Former Pakistani diplomat Abdul Basit signed $1.5 mn deal with fake Broadsheet LLC'

Pakistan’s former high commissioner to the UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan. Photo:File

  • Pakistan’s former high commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan accuses former deputy high commissioner to UK Abdul Basit of making payments to a fake company without verification.
  • Says Basit made a "wrongful payment of $1.5 million to Jerry James, the head of a fake company called Broadsheet LLC (Colorado)."
  • A source familiar with the matter, however, claims that Basit did "everything in accordance with the instructions issued from Islamabad."

LONDON: Pakistan’s former high commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan has accused former deputy high commissioner to the UK Abdul Basit of making a "wrongful payment of $1.5 million to Jerry James," the head of a fake company called Broadsheet LLC (Colorado). However, a source with knowledge of the matter has denied the accusation and has claimed that "everything was handled in accordance with the instructions issued from Islamabad."

The accusation comes shortly after the Broadsheet Commission, run under Chairman Justice (retired) Azmat Saeed Sheikh, said the record of the unlawful payment is missing from both London and Islamabad.

Hasan said that he took over as the high commissioner to the UK in June 2008, adding that Basit had already signed the sham "settlement agreement" between the National Accountability Bureau (the Government of Pakistan) and the Broadsheet LLC (Colorado) by then, "without due diligence or carrying out necessary checks."

Broadsheet LLC (Colorado) was a company set up by Jerry James that is believed to have been created with the sole purpose of cheating both Pakistan and Broadsheet LLC (Isle of Man).

The settlement agreement in question has so far cost Pakistan more than $30 million dollars and was declared wrongful and unlawful by the London Court of International Arbitration, which ruled that Pakistan had committed a tort of civil conspiracy against Broadsheet LLC (Isle of Man) by settling the deal with Jerry James, an individual who had no legal right to make a settlement on behalf of Broadsheet LLC (Isle of Man).

While Basit allegedly signed the sham agreement on behalf of the National Accountability Bureau, Jerry James signed three time: (i) on behalf of "Broadsheet LLC" (Colorado) as chairman; (ii) on behalf of Steeplechase Financial Service LLC as its manager; and personally, as a shareholder and beneficiary of Broadsheet LLC (Isle of Man), which was winding up at the time.

Hasan further said Basit had vacated the post when he took over in June 2008 and that Manzoorul Haq had taken over from Basit as deputy high commissioner. Hasan alleged that NAB had authorised Manzoorul Haq to issue the cheques to Jerry James.

The former high commissioner said he was surprised when it was brought to his knowledge by the High Commission’s Director Accounts that a huge payment was being made to Broadsheet during "an investigation against the PPP government”.

“I was surprised as the payment was made without my approval or information. I phoned PPP’s [then] law minister Farooq Naek, who advised me to put a hold on the payment until further instruction. This was done on Friday evening. On Monday morning, Farooq told me to release the money to Broadsheet as any delay could lead to litigation by them under notice. On Monday morning, Broadsheet’s Jerry James called on me. We discussed the payment and he agreed to waive off [accrued] interest of £7,000,” Hasan said.

“Sometime later, the Pakistan High Commission received a notice from Broadsheet LLC (Isle of Man) that the [then] deputy high commissioner Abdul Basit had made a wrong payment to a fraud person acting on behalf of Broadsheet. There was definitely something fishy between Abdul Basit and that fraudster Jerry James,” Hasan alleged.

However, a source close to Basit, requesting anonymity, told Geo News that Basit had signed the agreement and made the payment after “approvals from NAB and the Foreign Office in Pakistan”.

The person said: “The role of Abdul Basit was only to do what was instructed from Pakistan. He received instructions from NAB and Foreign Office to make the payment and to sign the agreement and he did it. Manzoorul Haq did the same, acting on advice from Pakistan.”

The person pointed out that two payments were made to Jerry James, and that Abdul Basit was responsible for only half of the $1.5 million payment.

The Pakistan High Commission in London had made two payments directly to Jerry James amounting to $631,626 on May 20, 2008, and then $868,374 on September 29, 2008. The latter payment was made at a time when Basit had left.

The source said the remittance orders are issued by the Foreign Office in Pakistan and the chief accounts officer was involved.

“Everything was done under instructions,” the source repeated.