Head of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that probed the Panama Papers scandal, Wajid Zia, on Monday informed an accountability court that former finance minister Ishaq Dar possesses assets that “are disproportionate and beyond his known sources and means of income”.
Zia, the Additional Director General of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), recorded his statement after producing original JIT record in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s reference against Dar, accusing him of amassing assets beyond known sources of income.
He produced Volume 1 and Volume 9(a) of the original record after obtaining it from the Supreme Court and took it back after recording his statement before Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir.
The JIT head along with members, Amir Aziz from the State Bank of Pakistan, Noman Saeed from the Inter-Services Intelligence, Kamran Khursheed from the Military Intelligence, Bilal Rasul from the Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan and Irfan Mangi from NAB submitted the final report before the Supreme Court on July 10, 2017.
In his statement, the star prosecution witness said that the JIT recorded statements of different persons, including Ishaq Dar, jointly collected record from the SECP, commercial banks, the Federal Bureau of Revenue and the Election Commission of Pakistan. He said the records were mainly of Dar but it was also about other respondents.
Revealing the main findings of the investigation, Zia said that wealth statement of Dar in the year 1992-93 showed his net assets as Rs9.1 million while his wealth statement pertaining to the year 2008-09 showed his assets as Rs831.63 million.
“This shows increase of about 91 times in the assets of Ishaq Dar,” Zia said.
The JIT also found that in his declaration of assets filed under the Representation of People Act, 1976 (RoPA) in 2005, he said, Dar showed investment of 5.5 million pound sterling in an overseas company – Baraq Holdings Limited.
Dar also showed a loan to the tune of 4.9 million pound sterling to his son in the year 2008, Zia said, adding that the name of the son was not mentioned.
JIT head Wajid Zia unable to record statement in assets reference against Dar
“He [Dar] was unable to provide account for the source of amount and stated that it was privileged information that he did not want to divulge,” Zia informed the court.
He added that the loan to his son subsequently led to remittances by his son from 2008 to 2016 which were shown as gifts and loan repayments.
The witness informed the court that total remittances in the period were about Rs627 million and they were basically from the UAE.
He said the remittances became, prima facie, the source of his assets’ built-up and increase in yearly income that increased from Rs0.7 million in 2009 to Rs46 million in 2015-16.
“He was unable to provide any justification or documentary evidence for his asset build-up, especially the source of initial investment of 5.5 million GBP in Baraq Holdings,” the witness said in his statement.
“The JIT concluded that Ishaq Dar possesses assets that were disproportionate and beyond his known sources/means,” Zia said.
Earlier, the accountability court had declared Dar proclaimed offender due to his absence from the court’s proceedings.
On September 27, the accountability court had indicted Dar for amassing assets beyond his known sources of income and directed the prosecution to produce witnesses and evidence for establishing its case.
Dar had pleaded not guilty and is currently facing the NAB reference filed against him in line with the Supreme Court’s July 28 judgment in the Panamagate case.