ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan’s attorney has once again failed to satisfy the Supreme Court regarding the transfer of £562,000 by him to his ex-wife Jemima in 2003 after the sale of his London apartment.
“Where is the debit entry and credit entry,” Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar asked Khan’s counsel Naeem Bukhari on Thursday during the hearing of a petition filed by Hanif Abbasi, a leader of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The petition, being heard by a three-member bench of the apex court, seeks disqualification of Khan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief.
The CJP also said that they were simply asking for a bank statement as proof of the legitimacy of the property transaction between Khan and Jemima.
Jemima was 'benamidaar', claims PML-N
With the court consistently asking the PTI chief for a bank statement, legal experts wonder why despite hiring the services of the country’s top chartered accountants, Khan has so far failed to satisfy the bench regarding the money trail over purchase of land in Bani Gala.
On Thursday, Bukhari told the bench that Jemima confirmed receiving £562,000 (Rs79.6 million) from Khan in 2003. Submitting copies of email correspondence between the two in the court, he said Jemima would contact her bank for getting a proof that the said amount was received in her account from the account of Niazi Services Limited, the PTI chief’s offshore company.
Bukhari also submitted a letter written by the PTI chief to his bank in 2003 for the transfer of the amount into his ex-wife’s account. The letter, dated April 18, 2003, instructed Barclays to transfer the money.
On the other hand, Abbasi’s counsel Akram Sheikh contended that Khan had submitted forged documents to establish the transfer. He also cast doubt on Khan’s signatures on his two letters. The court, however, observed that the authenticity would become irrelevant if Jemima submitted her bank statement.
Imran still can’t produce offshore account details
The court also asked Khan’s counsel to justify why an amount of £75,000 that remained in the account after payment to Jemima was not disclosed before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in his 2003 annual return.
Bukhari claimed that Khan was not authorised to declare that amount, i.e, £75,000, as his personal asset because the company was involved in litigation at that time.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial, another judge on the bench, remarked that the court was only looking into the source of fund and movement of money, rather than conducting tax proceedings. He also said that Khan was a public office holder but these were not public funds.
Meanwhile, the CJP observed that the PTI chief’s counsel had yet to provide supporting evidence for £100,000 remittance from Jemima for the purchase of the Bani Gala land in 2002-03.
The bench noted that Khan did not mention in his 2002 nomination papers that he gave Rs6.5 million to Jemima as gift. It also observed that Khan, in his earlier statement, stated that he got a loan from Jemima to purchase the Bani Gala land.
Upon this, Bukhari contended “there is a difference between money taken from his wife and money borrowed from banks”.
Jemima says she's found bank statements verifying Bani Gala land purchase
Concluding his arguments, Bukhari said his client was facing four sets of allegations, adding that one of the allegations was that Khan did not disclose a booked flat in Grand Hyatt in the nomination papers for 2013, which he defended by saying that as soon as details of the location of the flat became available, it was disclosed before the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
Bukhari further stated that the Bani Gala land was purchased for Jemima to encourage her to stay in Pakistan. Likewise, he said that Niazi Services Limited was not entitled to benefit from Tax Amnesty 2000 as Khan was the beneficial owner of the London flat, which was disclosed through the scheme and was also mentioned in Khan’s nomination papers in 2002.
The lawyer also stated that Khan purchased the London flat from the money he earned playing cricket. Hanif Abbasi’s lawyer Akram Sheikh will submit his contentions on Tuesday.