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The JIT thunderbolt
 
Muhammad Zain

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The final report of the joint investigation team (JIT) has found Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his three children guilty of holding assets beyond their known sources of income, concealing assets and presenting forged papers to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. It appears the prime minister will not only be disqualified, but the whole family, except his wife, would be jailed.
The JIT has obtained attested copies of documents from different countries,
which will be impossible to reject at any forum. Documents attested
by the UEA government reveal that Nawaz Sharif had obtained a work visa
for Dubai and received salary even after becoming the Prime Minister of
Pakistan. He managed an offshore company, Capital FZE, from August 7,
2006, to April 20, 2014, but did not declare it in his income tax returns,
wealth statements or nomination papers submitted to the Election Commission
of Pakistan. During the period, he also received AED 10,000 (Rs
286,000) salary every month.
His son Hussain Nawaz informed the investigators he had set up the
offshore company to buy properties in the UAE, which was later dissolved
even though the purpose for which it was created never materialized. He
said no other family member was associated with the company. However,
contrary to the Sharif family's documents and official claims, the company
remained functional until 2014. In this way, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
was still working for a foreign company when he was elected as the Prime
Minister of Pakistan in 2013. On the basis of his employment, he had obtained
a work visa (Iqama) for Dubai from July 5, 2009, to June 4, 2015. The prime minister and his family also failed to produce information
confirming "known sources of income" which "is prima facie tantamount
to not being able to justify assets and the means of income". The Sharif
family submitted selective documents, which lacked substance and the
Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) did not provide complete tax returns of
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. Irregular movement of huge amounts was
found in the shape of loans and gifts from companies based in Saudi Arabia,
the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates to the prime minister
and his Pakistan-based companies. "The role of offshore companies
is critically important, as six companies have been identified to be linked
with the Sharif family business in the UK. The companies are mainly used
for the inflow of funds into the UK-based companies, which not only acquired
expensive properties in the UK from the funds but also revolve the
funds amongst their companies in the UK, the USA, the UAE and Pakistan,"
it noted.
"Financial details of his companies, banks and his declaration in the
Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) prove that PM Nawaz Sharif is in possession
of assets beyond known sources. He built assets and declared
them in the name of his children when there was no plausible source of
income of the prime minister or his children," it observed. It also found that
after the Sharif family's political rejuvenation in 2007-8, funds were shifted
from their UK and UAE empires to Pakistan in the forms of gifts in excess
of Rs880 million. "Substantial funds were transferred in the accounts of
the prime minister in the forms of gifts from his son Hussain Nawaz and
accounts of the Hill Metal Establishment (a leading steel company in Saudi
Arabia) taking advantage of tax exemption on foreign remittances." The
report also points out that the prime minister in his tax return in 2013 had
claimed that he donated Rs100 million to his party and concealed the fact
that he received back Rs45 million from the party account before the close
of the financial year.
The JIT also rejected the prime minister's claim that his business empire
was based on the inherited money from his father who owned millions
of rupees in the 1970s. "A financial analysis of Mian Muhammad Sharif
does not substantiate his claim. An exorbitant hike in the build-up of his
tax returns is not commensurate with his growth which leads to the presumption
that this empire is based on illegal monetary sources." It also observed
the assets of the prime minister's sons had increased
phenomenally in the early 1990s with no declared source of income, as it
was the period the Sharif family was part of the ruling elite. "This build-up
of assets was through irregular means and Hassan was used as a proxy
to build family assets."
It also found damning indictment with serious consequences for
Maryam Nawaz, daughter of the prime minister and his heir apparent.
British Virgin Islands (BVI) has duly verified she is the beneficial owner of
Nielsen and Nescoll companies, which also conducted forensic examination
of the documents she produced before the JIT and found them forged.
"Maryam Safdar has submitted fake and falsified documents to the JIT
which is a criminal offense. The documents are decoys to manipulate facts
and camouflage the truth. Hussain Nawaz and Capt. (R) Safdar as well as
Maryam Safdar have also signed these falsified and misleading documents.
Hasan Nawaz, having submitted these documents as Respondent
No. 8 is also prima facie involved in manipulating and misleading the
Supreme Court of Pakistan," the JIT observed. Another aspect, which
proved Maryam had provided forged documents to the court, was the font
she used in her documents as the Calibri font was not available for the
public use then. According to the record of the Federal Board of Revenue
(FBR), she is also guilty of hiding her assets and tax evasion. She obtained
loans worth millions of rupees despite having no source of income, and
bought agricultural land whose income is exempted from tax from the
funds that she received as a gift in 2008.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar's wealth statement in 2008-9 showed an
increase of 91 times in his assets from Rs9.11 million to Rs831.7 million.
"This exorbitant leap in his asset is not clarified or supported by any plausible
financial documents. His confessional statement regarding moneylaundering
was based on facts."
Though Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has not been accused
of any crime in the report, yet the JIT has recommended re-opening three
references against the Sharif family, including Hudaibiya Papers Mills and
Hudaibiya Engineering case. Then there is the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.
These are money laundering cases and Punjab Chief Minister Shabaz
Sharif will also be included in them later. The cases are based on solid evidence
and will prove fatal for him, when investigated under the supervision
of the Supreme Court. It appears his son, Hamza Shahbaz, will have to
lead the party in the next election.

 

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