ISLAMABAD: In a startling revelation, Joint Investigation Team (JIT) Head Wajid Zia admitted on Thursday that the team did not collect any document to establish if deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif had received salary from the Capital FZE Company.
Meanwhile, during the 7th day of cross examination, it emerged that the JIT hired a law firm “Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers” which had provided most of the source documents, including the ones linking Sharif with Capital FZE, to JIT – placed in Volume 6 of the JIT report.
The documents obtained from the law firm and stamped by the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) apparently pertain to former prime minister’s employment contract, payment certificate, personal details, him being the chairman of the board at Capital FZE from July 8, 2006, to July 7, 2008, but they do not state that Sharif actually received salary from the company.
The ‘Employment Contract for Sponsored Staff’ states that Sharif remained chairman from July 8, 2006, to July 7, 2008. However, the JAFZA’s letter of July 4, 2017, titled “To whom it may concern” by Shehab Sultan Mesmar states that Sharif remained chairman from Aug 7, 2006, to April 20, 2014.
The last salary of July 2013 was received in August 2013, the documents show without mentioning anyone’s name. The payment certificate shows that two employees did receive salaries, but the JIT does not have any evidence to show that the employees include Nawaz Sharif.
Two documents – payment certificate and personal details – are screen shots and were obtained by the Military Intelligence (MI) and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) members of the JIT from Dubai.
The screen shot of “Personal Details” document has Nawaz Sharif’s personal details but the “Payment Certificate” states account and customer name as ‘Capital FZE’ only.
Zia conceded that the members had gone to Dubai to investigate and acquire relevant record or evidence related to the Sharif family with special emphasis on Capital FZE. He subsequently admitted that JIT did not obtain any other documents.
The details surfaced during the cross examination of Zia by Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris in the accountability court, which is conducting hearing on the NAB’s references against the Sharif family.
To the question if the JIT collected any evidence or bank account details showing that a certain amount was transferred in Sharif’s account, Zia admitted that the JIT did not collect any such document which shows that Sharif received the salary from Capital FZE.
Next, Haris asked if the JIT collected any receipt, showing Sharif himself or someone on his behalf accepted any salary from the company, Zia said ‘No’. He, however, voluntarily explained that the Wage Protection System in Dubai requires companies to file certificate that employees have been paid.
To the next question if any document was collected in this regard, Zia admitted that the JIT did not take into possession any certificate from Capital FZE showing the salary was given to Sharif.
“Documents provided by JAFZA were all related to Mian Nawaz Sharif,” Zia said. “Truth can’t be concealed,” Haris replied and asked the next question.
“Did two-star members of the JIT collect any document which states that Capital FZE gave any amount/salary to Nawaz Sharif,” Haris enquired. “No,” Zia replied, adding, “But you have accepted it before the Supreme Court.”
“We never accepted that we [Sharif] received any salary payment. It was not our position,” Haris said.
The JIT head also admitted that the investigating team did not send any Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) to any authority for obtaining the documents related to Capital FZE, including the employment contract of the former prime minister from the Jafza.
Supreme Court had disqualified Sharif last year while hearing the Panama Papers case when JIT had produced some documents of the Capital FZE Company. The apex court had concluded that Nawaz Sharif had not declared receivable salary in his nomination papers for the 2013 election.
Moreover, Zia informed the court that he did not know who has written figures by hand on the “Employment Contract Amendment” of Sharif while answering Haris’ question if he knew who changed figures. He said the document is certified by JAFZA.
NAB and defence counsel Amjad Pervaiz presented arguments if Zia’s communication with a UK-based law firm, Quist Solicitor, was privileged communication or could be disclosed in court.
To the question if the JIT shared witnesses’ statements with Quist on which it gave its analysis in the report, Zia had confirmed it on Wednesday but did not reveal whose statements were shared with Quist, saying it was privileged communication.
Following the arguments, the court reserved its verdict and adjourned the hearing till April 6