IK had not disclosed ‘loan’ taken from Jemima
The Supreme Court of Pakistan observed on Tuesday that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan had not disclosed the “loan” he had taken from his ex-wife Jemima Goldsmith.
However, the top court noted that it would have to be seen whether the disclosure of the loan and its repayment after the declaration of assets to the Election Commission of Pakistan would affect the case or not.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, was hearing a petition seeking disqualification of the PTI chief. The petition was filed by Hanif Abbasi, a leader of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N.
Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said that one lakh pounds in Niazi Services Limited account were Imran’s assets that remained undeclared.
The chief justice remarked that the Supreme Court is not yet reserving the verdict, and will inquire if anything further is required.
During the proceedings, Abbasi’s counsel Akram Sheikh informed the court that Imran’s two letters mentioned different addresses and fax numbers and were written on the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital’s letterhead.
As Imran’s counsel Naeem Bukhari was absent, the CJP spoke with the other PTI lawyer, Faisal Chaudhry, on the issue raised by the petitioner’s counsel.
Sheikh, continuing his argument, told the court that it was unclear as to whether the money for purchasing the land in Bani Gala came from Jemima or had been paid by Imran.
Imran’s attorney has been unable to satisfy the court so far regarding the transfer of £562,000 by him to his ex-wife Jemima in 2003 after the sale of his London apartment.
On the other hand, Abbasi’s counsel Sheikh contended that Imran had submitted forged documents to establish the transfer. He also cast doubt on Imran’s signatures on his two letters. The court, however, observed that the authenticity would become irrelevant if Jemima submitted her bank statement.
The court also asked Imran’s counsel to justify why an amount of £75,000 that remained in the account after payment to Jemima was not disclosed before the ECP in his 2003 annual return.
Bukhari claimed that Imran was not authorised to declare that amount, i.e, £75,000, as his personal asset because the company was involved in litigation at that time.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial, another judge on the bench, remarked that the court was only looking into the source of fund and movement of money, rather than conducting tax proceedings. He also said that Imran was a public office holder but these were not public funds.
Meanwhile, the CJP observed that the PTI chief’s counsel had yet to provide supporting evidence for £100,000 remittance from Jemima for the purchase of the Bani Gala land in 2002-03.
The bench noted that Imran did not mention in his 2002 nomination papers that he gave Rs6.5 million to Jemima as gift. It also observed that Imran, in his earlier statement, stated that he got a loan from Jemima to purchase the Bani Gala land.
Upon this, Bukhari contended “there is a difference between money taken from his wife and money borrowed from banks”.
“We will have to see where the [money for the] London flat came from,” Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, remarked after hearing the rebuttal presented by the counsel for PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi.
The bench was hearing Abbasi’s petition which seeks the disqualification of Imran Khan and PTI secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen over non-disclosure of assets, existence of offshore companies owned by Imran and Tareen as well as PTI being a foreign-aided party.
“If the documents are not verified, what should we do?” the chief justice asked, inquiring if the court had the option of calling for the real documents.
Sheikh also brought into question the £79,000 that he said Imran had paid to the architect of the Bani Gala property.
“Will they [the PTI] not tell us where this amount came from?” Sheikh asked, adding that Imran’s lawyer had not submitted documents regarding the matter.
“You are assigning us the role of an account,” Justice Umar Atta Bandial said in response to Sheikh’s arguments. The judge told the lawyer that he had ventured outside the scope of the case and he should limit his arguments.
“How much was [Imran’s] London flat bought for?” Justice Faisal Arab asked the counsel, questioning if the prosecution had challenged the defence on this matter. Sheikh told the court that Imran had adopted the position that the Bani Gala property was bought through the sale of the London flat.