NAB, FBR chiefs summoned in Panama case

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From Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court yesterday directed chairman NAB and FBR to appear before the court in person with complete record and apprise the bench about the progress made so far in Panama Papers case on next hearing which is scheduled for February 21. A five-member larger bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa conducted the hearing. Other judges in the bench include Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan. During the proceedings Salman Raja presented more documentary evidences regarding financial affairs of his clients and London properties and informed the court that all documents have been received from London last night. Salman Raja submitted the services agreement between Hussain Nawaz and Minerva firm along with the payment details to the company. The bench had also asked Salman Akram Raja, the counsel representing Hussain, to “show the court the relevant documents that reveal who paid for Minerva Financial Services,” the holding company for two off-shore entities that own the flats in question. In yesterday’s hearing, Raja submitted documents purporting to show the services rendered by Minerva Services to the two companies, Nielsen Enterprises Ltd and Nescoll Ltd. Documents purporting to show the ownership of the Park Lane flats in London were also submitted before the five-member bench. Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan inquired about the sources through which Hussain Nawaz purchased flats in London’s most expensive area. The documents show the ownership of the flats in question since the year 2006, and state that the payment for the flats was made to Minerva Services by Arrina Company through Barclays Bank. The payments were made to Minerva Services in 2014, the documents state. After submitting the documents, Raja admitted that Maryam Nawaz, PM Sharif’s daughter, had remained a trustee of the Minerva Financial Services Ltd between February and July 2006.In 2014, the shares were transferred from Minerva to the trustee, Raja told the bench. “Was the trust deed rendered obsolete by the transfer of shares?” Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked Raja. The judge was referring to a trust deed dated Feb 2, 2006, signed by Maryam Nawaz, showing her as a trustee of the two off-shore companies. “Even if Maryam Nawaz was a dependent on her father, it does not prove that she is the owner of the London flats [owned by Nielsen and Nescoll Ltd],” the lawyer told the court. “We want to look at the investment for Hussain Nawaz’s expensive properties in London’s posh area. If Maryam Nawaz was acting as the representative of her brother, then we want to see those documents as well,” the bench remarked. It is a matter of billions and you are saying there are no documents,” the court reprimanded the lawyer, stating that he was wasting their time. Justice Khosa asked the lawyer whether it was strategy of the defense side to not to submit documents crucial to the case.

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