ISLAMABAD: Head of the joint investigation team (JIT) that probed into former premier Nawaz Sharif and his family’s offshore assets has told an accountability court that there is no quantification of cash flow or retained earnings of Sharif’s Hill Metal Establishment (HME) in any financial years in their report.
During cross examination on Tuesday, the JIT head Wajid Zia admitted that the JIT was unable to produce any document or evidence to show what the cash flows and retained earnings were of the HME during in any financial years.
Zia was being cross examined in the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) Al-Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment reference against Nawaz Sharif and his two sons, Hassan and Hussain.
On Tuesday Sharif was presented before the court. The former premier is currently imprisoned in Adiala Jail along with his daughter Maryam and son in-law Captain (retd) Safdar. They are serving sentences awarded to them after being convicted in NAB’s Avenfield Apartments reference on July 6.
Zia took a lot of time to answer defence counsel Khawaja Haris about quantification of the cash flows and retained earnings. The Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Arshad also reminded him to take his time before answering the question and consult the record if needed because he has to answer a question on the basis of the available record only.
Initially, Zia said it was not possible for the JIT to quantify cash flow and retained earnings but when Hairs insisted that the witness should first answer his question and only then explain something else, Zia said: “There is no quantification of cash flows or retained earnings of HME in the JIT report.”
He, however, voluntarily explained that financial statements were not provided despite repeated request made to Hussain Nawaz. To a question, Zia said it was correct that for the purpose of calculating the net profit/income of a company for any particular year the cost of sales, operational expenses, depreciation, amortisation, interest and taxes are subtracted.
Zia after having gone through the record said he can say that different portions of the JIT report were drafted by different members of the JIT but he was unable to say which portion was drafted by which member. He explained that members of the JIT sat together and evolved consensus on the final draft on a common screen. Haris said for such an answer there was no need to consult the record.
To a question pertaining to Qatari letters, Zia admitted that one of the dates on a Qatari letter placed in the JIT report was incorrect. He, however, quickly added that it was “an honest mistake”.
“Because of your dishonesty I am asking these questions,” Haris said. To this, NAB’s prosecutor Wasiq Malik intervened and objected on the use of the word ‘dishonesty’.
Hairs said he takes back his words. At this moment, Zia while addressing Haris said he first uses a word and then takes it back and he shouldn’t do so. “Alright, I do not take back my words. Let’s call a spade a spade,” Haris replied. “Sorry from my side,” Zia said. “I also apologise,” Haris said.
During the hearing, the judge expressed annoyance over frequent entrance and exit of the security officials and others in the courtroom. In addition, he said, witness’s frequent volunteer explanations were also causing irritation. At one point, he barred Zia from giving unnecessary explanations.
Many a time, the judge also asked Haris to refrain from asking questions that have no direct link with the case. Haris, however, said his questions were not in the air and each question was being asked to eliminate Sharif from the things he has been unnecessarily engaged by JIT.
The court would resume hearing on Aug 29 (today).