ISLAMABAD: In a stark contradiction to the Joint Investigation Team (JIT)’s findings, Maryam Nawaz informed the accountability court on Friday that her brother Hussain Nawaz was the true owner and beneficiary of the Park Lane Apartments.
The daughter of deposed premier Nawaz Sharif said that Hussain also owned offshore company Nescoll and Nielsen, which held the London apartments.
She informed the court that she was holding the offshore companies through a trust deed, and had produced ‘notarised’ copies of the trust deeds before the JIT, formed to probe the Panama Papers leak.
This is in opposition to the JIT’s conclusion that she produced “fake and manipulated” copies of trust deeds.
The former first daughter said she “produced two declarations of trust deeds before the JIT, which on the face of these were certified by the Notary Public as true and exact copies of the original.”
While recording her statement under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in the Avenfield reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for the second consecutive day, Maryam pointed out several flaws in the way the trust deeds were examined.
“Wajid Zia made a false and misleading statement deliberately and maliciously before this Hon’ble Court that I was confronted by the JIT, that the trust deeds were notarised copies but I reconfirmed them to be original,” she said in response to a question.
Zia had no option except to admit during the course of cross examination that it is nowhere written in the JIT report that she was confronted and she reaffirmed the deeds as original, Maryam continued.
On the question that Hassan Nawaz gave an interview aired on the BBC in November 1999 telling host Tim Sebastian in program HARD TALK that he lives in the Park Lane flats on rent and amount of quarterly rent is received from Pakistan. In the interview, Hassan alleges that he doesn’t know who owns the flats. In response, Maryam said the question doesn’t relate to her.
However, she added, “it is a known fact that my grandfather was looking after the entire family and providing for their expenses and even fixing/specifying the per month pocket money for everyone.”
The court also sought Maryam’s stance on Hussain Nawaz’s interview to Javed Chaudhry, aired by Express News on March 7, 2013. She said that the CD and transcript have not been proved in accordance with law. However, it is admitted that Park Lane Apartments were owned by him, he was the beneficial owner of these companies and she was made a trustee, she added.
Maryam, through her counsel Amjad Pervaiz, informed the court that the trust deeds were available on record of the Supreme Court with multiple applications, yet no questions were raised by the apex court on their authenticity or otherwise.
Moreover, she said, as per the April 20, 2017 order of the SC, she along with her husband Capt (retd) Safdar were not respondents to the JIT. “However, the JIT on its own without any reference by the Hon’ble Supreme Court proceeded to procure a so called expert opinion qua the trust deeds with malafide intention.”
She said that the entire manner and process of engaging the services of Robert Radley, the manner of transmission of documents to him, and the extent and scope of assignments given to him, in the light of the evidence brought on record, are highly suspicious and thus his report is not worth credence.
Radley was engaged by Akhtar Riaz Raja of the Quist Solicitor, London, who is investigation officer Zia’s cousin. She added that there is no plausible reason on record as to why Radley was engaged by the JIT through Raja when the witnesses could have been engaged directly by the JIT or through the Foreign Office.
She maintained that “the services of Robret Radley were engaged through Pw-15 Akhtar Riaz Raja to procure an utterly false and manipulated report to suit the designs of JIT to implicate me and my husband in this case.”
Even otherwise, she continued, the report has been prepared on the basis of comparison of scanned copies which is not permissible under the law and standard norms of forensic science.
The PML-N leader said she doesn’t know as to when, how and in what conditions the two sets of certified declarations of trust were received in Radley’s laboratory. She further added that the person who handed over the trust declarations for delivery in London and the individual who received the delivery and handed over to JIT have never been associated to the probe team during the trial.
“The manner of delivery of trust declarations to the Laboratory of Robert Radley or his report to JIT is a mystery,” Maryam said in her statement.
Radley himself admitted during his cross examination that there was a pre-release of WINDOW VISTA known as BETA-1 which was available on April, 2005, with subsequent versions available in October and November, 2005, before the commercial launch of WINDOW VISTA on 31-01-2007, she added.
“He has further admitted that he himself downloaded it and used it,” Maryam said, adding Radley also admitted that the creator of Calibri, Font Lucas De Groot had been given award by the Director Club Competitions in the year 2005 for the design of Calibri Font.
Even otherwise, she said, Radley does not hold any qualification in software or computer sciences nor is an expert of font identification even as per his own CV attached with his report.
And as per the standard norms an expert is bound to show the sources of all information used by him for rendering an opinion, however, admittedly, Radley has not shown any such source, his report does not refer to any books, articles or website, she added.
During the course of evidence, she continued, Radley has not only proved to be a highly interested witness but his report is proved to have been written in unholy haste, is deficient in addressing material particulars, falls miserably short of the standard expected of an expert of international standard, and is “totally biased and one-sided and not even worth the paper it is written on.”
Next, the court sought her stance on the question that Radley said that both certified copies were bound together with green corner piece through which brass eyelets had been appended and these brass eyelet were undone which damaged the eyelet and some portion of which was broken off.
Maryam said that, “It appears to be a frivolous observation, as undoing of brass eyelet could be for an innocent reason, and even maneuvered by the members of the JIT team, or for that matter, Akhtar Raja, or Robert Radley himself, all of whom are proven to be highly interested witnesses.”
The former first daughter further denied any knowledge of the events and transactions pertaining to the Dubai factory, its sale and its value. She further added that the record clearly states that the Qatari prince had never averted cooperation with the JIT, rather he showed willingness to do so, albeit in his Palace in Qatar rather than in Pakistan.
She further said she has no concerns with nor has any personal knowledge of any compromise affected between Hudabyia Paper Mills and Al-Towfeeq Company.
About letters relating to Nescoll and Nielson addressed to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from Mossack Fonesca, she said, these have been appended with the CMA No. 7511/2016 by an interested party, who has not been associated with investigation.
Maryam added that the said letter does not bear the signature of anyone, the same is inadmissible in evidence being attested copy of a photocopy and that too not bearing attestation as required by law and, nor otherwise proved in accordance with law.
She will continue recording her statement as an accused in the Avenfield reference on Monday.