ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday filed a supplementary reference in an accountability court against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, son-in-law Captain (retd) Mohammad Safdar and two sons in connection with the Avenfield Apartments case.
The top anti-graft body has filed the reference with the registrar of the accountability court for scrutiny [of assets] and listed seven new witnesses, including head of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT)’s head Wajid Zia, two foreigners and two officials of the information ministry, against the Sharif family.
One of the witnesses listed in the reference is Robert W Radley, a forensic expert based in the UK. NAB said that Sharif, Maryam, Hasan and Hussain’s TV interviews are also made part of the new evidence.
In its report, the JIT report had concluded that Maryam was the real and ultimate beneficial owner of the Avenfield apartments; she never declared them as her overseas properties, allegedly submitted fake documents and misled the Supreme Court.
“It has been proved beyond doubt that Ms Maryam Safdar had been the owner of the Avenfield properties,” the JIT report read, adding that the documents submitted by the respondents were “fake and manipulated”.
However, the issue of Calibri font’s usage in a ‘fabricated’ trust deed was put in the cold storage when the accountability court, conducting trial of the Sharif family in connection with three NAB references, set aside a portion pertaining to the Calibri font from the charge-sheet of the Avenfield Apartments reference.
Judge Muhammad Bashir had accepted Maryam and Safdar’s application for alteration in the charge-sheet to the extent of the Calibri font issue and agreed to the defence counsel’s argument that the court could take up the matter after pronouncing the final judgment and that, too, if the court finds any forged document(s) during trial.
The JIT report said that the analysis of tax returns of Maryam – the future political star of the closely knit and an interdependent monolithic Sharif family – shows that she had never declared Avenfield apartments as her overseas properties.
“It can be assumed, if not contradicted by any documentary evidence, that Ms Maryam Safdar remained the real and beneficial owner of the Avenfield properties under Nielson and Nescoll offshore companies,” the report read.
The report said that Maryam has submitted fake and falsified documents to the JIT, which is a criminal offence.
It added that those documents were decoys to manipulate facts and camouflage truth and Hussain, Maryam and Capt (retd) Safdar have also signed those falsified and misleading documents.
Hasan Nawaz is also, prima facie, involved in manipulating and misleading the Supreme Court as he submitted those documents before the court.
The JIT noted that Safdar misstated that even today he did not know about the owner of the Avenfield Apartments, adding that his contention is absolutely untrue as he was a “witness relating to Avenfield Apartments in 2006”.
On February 4, 2006, a ‘Trust Deed’ was signed between Hussain Nawaz and Maryam Nawaz declaring the latter as ‘Trustee’ of the Avenfield properties. Similarly, in 2008, another ‘Trust Deed’ was between the two.
In response to specific summon to produce the original of the Trust Deed document of M/s Nielson Enterprises Limited, M/s Nescoll Limited and Trust Deed of Coomber Inc., Maryam provided what she stated were the ‘originals’ but were in reality good quality photocopies of the originals.
The JIT sent, what was presented by Maryam as ‘original documents’ to ‘the Radley Forensic Document Laboratory in London for examination’.
After the forensic examination, the laboratory’s expert, Robert W Radley stated that he identified the type font used to produce both certified declaration as ‘Calibri’.
“However, Calibri was not commercially available before January 31, 2007, and as such, neither of the originals of the certified declarations is correctly dated and happy to have been created at some later point in time,” Radley stated in his findings.
The JIT concluded that the documents presented by the respondents in the Supreme Court and documents presented by Maryam to the JIT were falsified to mislead the court to believe that they were signed in 2006, whereas they could not have been typed in that font in that year as it was not yet introduced.
In the report, the JIT said that the story built by Hussain Nawaz and other respondents is totally incorrect which have been attempted to be corroborated by false documents.
Based on all the material and information available with the JIT, the report said, “It is quite evident that the Al-Thani family did not have any interest in the Mayfair apartments in 1999.”
The report added that “… the beneficial owners of the properties were not the Al-Thani family.”
JIT concluded that Hasan and Hussain did not have any means to individually or collectively maintain, manage or purchase Avenfield properties.
“The flats were not the property of the Qatari prince and handing over of the bearer shares as settlement of Qatari investment in totality [was] a myth.”
In the light of the verification letters of Mr Errol George and the advocate general of the Financial Investigation Agency of the British Virgin Island (BVI), “it can be conclusively stated that Ms Maryam Safdar was (and probably still is) the real and ultimate beneficial owner of the Avenfield properties”.
In addition, the JIT said, Maryam had the ownership of the properties through the BVI companies and the claim of her being the ‘trustee’ was an attempt to mislead the Supreme Court by presenting falsified evidence.
Meanwhile, the accountability court resumed hearing of a reference against former finance minister Ishaq Dar wherein he has been accused of amassing assets beyond his known sources of income.
Three witnesses — Faisal Shehzad, Ali Akbar Bhander and Qaboos Aziz — recorded their statements.
Later, the court issued summons for more witnesses and adjourned the hearing until January 26.