PM’s children may face penalty for forged documents: SC

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Raja presents additional documents
Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children may face consequences for submitting ‘forged’ documents to the joint investigation team (JIT), stated Justice Ijazul Ahsan on Thursday who is member of a three member bench hearing Panama Papers case.
Ijazul Ahsan said the Dubai government has revealed that the documents of Gulf Steel Mills provided by the Sharif family were forged. “Dubai Customs has no record of transportation of machinery of Gulf Steel Mills from Dubai to Saudi Arabia,” he observed. Responding to the query by the bench, Additional Attorney General Waqar Rana said seven years of imprisonment can be awarded to someone who is found involved in forgery. “We cannot shut our eyes as law will take its course because fake documents have been submitted in the Supreme Court,” Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh observed.
The bench also lamented Qatari Prince Hammad Bin Jassam attitude with JIT, saying that he neither agreed to record his statement on video link nor was willing to come to Pakistan Embassy in Doha.
Justice Ijaz also asked the counsel for PM’s children, Salman Akram Raja, why the family did not explain how they paid Rs21 million liability after the selling of Al Azizia Mills in Saudi Arabia and how Rs63 million was transferred to Hussain Nawaz’s account.
Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh observed it has been confirmed that Maryam is the beneficial owner of London flats. “It is not allegation but a matter of fact that Maryam is the beneficial owner of the flats.”
On this, the counsel for PM Nawaz’s family said the JIT did not confront his clients on the material which was collected by the probing team adding that they could not be prosecuted in this matter.
Raja added there was no allegation of wrongdoing against his clients. However, the SC bench responded that the allegation against PM Nawaz’s children is that they forged the documents and therefore they should be prosecuted for the forgery.
During the proceedings, Justice Ejaz Afzal warned the lawyer if the PM’s children fail to provide the money trail, Nawaz Sharif would have to suffer the consequences since he holds a public office. “We will be forced to take a decision against the PM.
An official letter from Sheikh Al Thani addressed to the JIT — dated July 17, 2017 — was also submitted in court, in which the former Qatari prime minister verified that he had not “received any confirmation yet” from the JIT regarding his appearance before “any court of law [in Pakistan] or tribunal for any purpose whatsoever.”
The former Qatari prime minister added that upon receiving such confirmation, he would propose a meeting in Doha in the coming week with the JIT “to confirm the veracity of [his] previous two statements.”
The Qatari letters submitted before the SC in the Panamagate case were the mainstay of the defence mounted by the prime minister’s son, Hussain Nawaz, who claimed that the London properties were handed over to the Sharif family by the Al Thanis under a settlement.
Salman Akram Raja submitted further documents on behalf of his clients including one acquired from Abu Dhabi customs to show that scrap and machinery from the Gulf Steel Mills did move from Dubai after its liquidation, and an invoice from Ahli Steel Company verifying the shipment of dismantled rolling mill equipment from the Al-Azizia Steel Company.
The lawyer also presented a document from JPCA Ltd, an accountancy firm, dealing with the ownership of Nescoll and Neilsen, as well as papers from Minerva Financial Services Limited, the holding firm for both companies.

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