Broadsheet commission completes probe


Terms ‘inadvertent payment’ act of deceit with the state

Observer Report

In the latest development pertaining to the Broadsheet saga, it was revealed on Monday that the record of $1.5million paid ‘inadvertently’ in 2008 was missing.

In January, during a debate on the issue, Adviser to the PM on Accountability Shahzad Akbar had told the Senate that the PPP government in 2008 made a payment of $1.5 million to a ‘wrong firm’.

The commission formed to probe the payments to the UK-based firm completed the investigation and submitted its report to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The report and the relevant record comprises 500 pages, revealing who made the agreement with the firm and under what circumstances.

Terming the payment to the ‘wrong firm’ suspicious, the commission termed it an act of deceit with the state.

It observed that the files disappeared from the ministries of finance and law as well as the office of the attorney general.

Moreover, the documentation in Pakistan high commission in London pertaining to the case was also found to be missing.

The commission recorded the statements of 24 witnesses, completing the investigation in a span of six weeks.

The authority found all details of the case through the documents submitted by the National Accountability Bureau.

The Broadsheet LLC was incorporated in the Isle of Man to help Pervez Musharraf’s government and the newly established NAB track down foreign assets purchased by Pakistanis through ill-gotten wealth.

After NAB terminated the contract in 2003, Broadsheet LLC and another company involved as a third party filed for damages in a UK court.

It claimed that Pakistan owed them money according to the terms agreed upon since the government was taking action to confiscate some of the assets they had identified, including the Avenfield property owned by the family of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The companies’ claims against Pakistan were held valid by an arbitration court in 2016 and later by a United Kingdom high court that gave an award of over $28 million against Pakistan last year.

Broadsheet LLC arbitration decision came in 2016 – the same year when the Panama Papers had rocked Pakistan.

However, nobody knew about it until a court in the United Kingdom ordered authorities to deduct $28.7 million from Pakistan High Commission’s account in London.