ISLAMABAD: Along with a purported letter of a Qatari prince, the Sharif family is relying on an affidavit by a cousin of the prime minister to prove the trail of money used to buy expensive London properties as the late Mian Muhammad Sharif didn’t directly own any businesses in Dubai, according to documents the ruling family’s legal team submitted in the Supreme Court in the Panamagate case on Tuesday.
In all business ventures, beginning from the establishment of the Gulf Steel Mills in 1970s, Muhammad Tariq Shafi, a cousin of Premier Nawaz Sharif, has been mentioned as the legal owner in all the official documents, business transactions, and agreements with different departments and parties in Dubai.
Later in 1980, Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab, represented Shafi in a sale agreement when the latter sold 25% shares in the Ahli Steel Company, which generated 12 million dirhams that the Sharif family claims to have invested in real estate business with the Qatari royal family.
However, in this sale agreement with Muhammad Abdullah Jayed Ahli, Shahbaz is acting as an ‘authorised representative’ of Shafi, and not as a shareholder. There is no mention of the late Mian Sharif in this final transaction.
To substantiate their claim, the Sharif family has attached an affidavit of Shafi in which he says that his late uncle had bought the UAE business in his name out of love and affection. “In 1973, I was only 19-year old, and the late Mian Muhammad Sharif, who treated me like his own son, had taken me along with him to Dubai. Out of pure love and affection for me, he gave my name, instead of his own, as partner/shareholder in the aforesaid business,” he writes in the affidavit printed on Rs20 stamp-paper signed on November 12, 2016.
In the document, Shafi delineates his business history when the Dubai government had accorded him permission to rent a piece of land measuring 1 million square feet for 20 years in 1974. “I signed this agreement, being the ostensible owner to the extent of my late uncle’s share in the company,” he claims. However, no documentary evidence of purported shares of the late Mian Sharif was provided neither in the first official document issued by the Dubai government when had the land had been rented nor in share contact documents of the Gulf Steel Mills, a factory set up on this land.
According to him, to set up the steel factory finances had been generated form loans obtained from the Bank of Commerce and Credit International in Dubai and no money had been transferred from Pakistan.
Shafi said that in 1978, he had instructions of the late Mian Sharif to sell 75% shares of the company to Abdallah Kaid Ahli to settle outstanding liabilities with the banks of Dubai. This money was utilised to settle outstanding dues of the BCCI.
After this he entered into an agreement under which the factory business was to run in the name of Ahli Steel Mills Company with 28,500,000 dirham capital of which Ahli had 75% share and he contributed 25%. “In 1980, the late Mian Sharif decided to disengage himself from his steel business in Dubai, and as desired by him, an agreement was signed between Mohd Abdullah Kayed Ahli and myself on 14-04-1980, whereby remaining 25% share standing in my name but owned by my the late uncle was sold to Mohd Abdullah Kayed Ahli against a total consideration of 12 million dirham,” he writes.
Legal experts say Shafi would be a key witness in the Panamagate case now after the Qatari Prince Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber alThani whose letter was presented as proof for the money trail. The jury can question if the purported amount of 12 million dirham was mentioned in Mian Sharif’s account and tax details in Pakistan in 1980.
PM’s children reject claims:
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children have contended before the Supreme Court that documentary evidence presented by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in support of its allegations against them were not substantial and concrete.
As the five-judge larger bench of the apex court – headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali – is resuming hearing of the Panamagate case, the Sharif family counsel Akram Sheikh has submitted an application on behalf of Maryam Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz.
The application states that the controversy as raised in the PTI’s petition relates to the allegation that Maryam is the owner of properties bearing Flats No 16, 16A, 17 and17A situated at Avenfield House, Park Lane, London (the properties) and, consequently, seeks disqualification of Premier Sharif and his son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar from being members of the National Assembly on the ground that the premier has not declared the properties owned by Maryam for purportedly being dependent of him and spouse of Safdar in his tax returns as well as statement of assets and liabilities filed with the Election Commission of Pakistan.
Sharif’s children say that answering respondents have already submitted their concise statement and supplemental concise statement (contents whereof are reiterated herein and the same may be read as integral part of this application) refuting said allegations.
“In so far as the applications for additional documents are concerned, the same does not contain any substantiated, tangible, concrete, and admissible proof in relation to the aforesaid controversy. Even otherwise, the general allegations made and the documents appended with the Applications for Additional Documents are specifically and vehemently denied for being incorrect, erroneous, misconceived and inadmissible.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2016.