ISLAMABAD: National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President Saeed Ahmad and former chairman Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) Javaid Kiyani on Monday recorded statements before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as part of the ongoing investigations into the Sharif family’s offshore assets.
The Supreme Court had directed the NAB to include in the proceedings all persons, including Ahmad and Kiyani, who have any direct or indirect connection with the actions of Sharif family members leading to the acquisition of assets and funds beyond their known sources of income.
Javaid Kiyani was a co-accused in the Hudabiya Mills case, which had a link with the Al Towfeeq case and a possible link with the Sharif family’s London flats.
In its final report submitted to the SC, the Panamagate JIT had, after recording Kiyani’s statement, concluded that his blatant admission to opening and operating fictitious bank accounts on the directions of another accused in the case – Kiyani’s uncle Sheikh Saeed – for fraudulent transactions, acquiring loans, and transferring funds to foreign bank accounts, were all criminal offenses in and of themselves.
“The shady role of Javaid Kiyani in opening and operating fictitious accounts for illegally making fraudulent transactions has been proven beyond doubt through available certified banking records,” the JIT concluded in its report, adding that Nawaz Sharif and his family were the actual beneficiaries of these fictitious accounts and fraudulent transactions.
NBP President Saeed Ahmad, according to the JIT report, is a UK national and a close friend of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. He managed a number of transactions for firms owned by the Dar family.
Before the JIT, Ahmad had denied most of the facts related to his alleged banking transactions and even denied the existence of his own bank accounts. In its report, the JIT had requested the SC to include his name in the list of accused in the Panamagate case.
“In the light of Ahmad’s statement, it can be concluded that statement made by him before the JIT were factually incorrect and misleading,” the JIT had stated.
Meanwhile, the NAB Lahore has also sent a questionnaire containing some 35 questions related to the ongoing investigations into the accumulation of wealth and funds beyond known sources of income by Dar. The NAB has directed Dar to appear before its investigation team on Tuesday (today).
Dar contests verdict
But earlier on Monday, Dar filed a review petition with the Supreme Court challenging the Panamagate case verdict, claiming that a reference could not be filed against him on the basis of the ‘spurious’ JIT report.
Dar has asked the Supreme Court to recall its July 28 order, stating that the court’s direction is beyond the mandate set in the April 20 judgment. The finance minister added that the SC’s order to nominate a judge to supervise the NAB proceedings is against Articles 175(2) and 203 of the Constitution, which deal with the jurisdictions of courts. Likewise, he pleaded with the SC to stay the NAB proceedings against him till the final order on his review petition
The petitioner also asked why five judges passed the final verdict when only three judges had heard the arguments related to the JIT report, and the other two never heard the arguments nor did they consider the petitioner’s objections.
“No direction whatsoever was given to the JIT [regarding Dar]. The JIT self-evidently exceeded its mandate by opining on whether or not the petitioner’s assets were disproportionate to his known sources of income, and this court has regrettably erred in law,” says the review petition, adding that complete records of Dar’s income and wealth tax returns from 1983 to 2016 including the period from FY 2002-03 to FY 2007-08 were provided to the JIT.
Dar said the NAB previously examined both his and his wife’s tax records for 22 years from 1985 to 2007 and found no evidence of assets beyond declared sources of income and closed the inquiry.
“How then can a reference be filed on the spurious JIT report that the petitioner has not provided the relevant record,” he asked in his petition.
“Amplitude of powers conferred by Article 184(3) for enforcement of fundamental rights cannot be expanded to negate or whittle down the petitioner’s fundamental rights under Articles 4, 9, 10-A and 25 of the Constitution, or to reduce NAB’s powers under Section 18 of its ordinance to a nullity,” the petition adds.