Pakistan’s Supreme Court today asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family to produce documentary evidence to establish ownership of flats in London that are under the scanner following the Panama papers leak. The apex court after a hiatus of two weeks resumed hearing of the high-profile Panamagate case involving Prime Minister Sharif and his children. The case is about alleged illegal money laundering by Sharif in 1990s when he twice served as Prime Minister to purchase assets in London. The assets surfaced when Panama papers showed that they were managed through offshore companies owned by Sharif’s children. The five-member bench hearing the case asked the Sharif family to produce documentary evidence to establish Prime Minister’s son Hussain Nawaz as beneficial owner of Park Lane flats in London, in accordance with the family’s claim. “Where is the document which could show Hussain Nawaz is the beneficial owner of Landon flats?” Justice Azmat Saeed Shaikh asked Sharif family’s counsel Salman Akram Raja.
The Express Tribune reported that the top court judge also asked the Sharifs’ counsel to provide the family’s agreement with Minerva Services Limited, a company which the Premier’s family claims is a service provider to Nielsen and Nescoll offshore companies owned by his son.
“Let’s call a spade a spade and show us relevant documents that could reveal who gave payment to service providing company (Minerva),” Justice Azmat said.
Meanwhile, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who is heading a five-judge larger bench of the apex court in the Panamagate case, in his remarks said, “This is the stage which will make or break the Panamagate case”.
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Justice Khosa expressed wonder that four apartments in London’s upscale area were acquired for two students — Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz — in 1990s.
On this, the Sharif’s counsel said Prime Minister Sharif’s nephew Hamza Shahbaz was also studying in the UK at that time.
However, he expressed his inability to provide complete documents regarding the ownership of London apartments.
“It will not be possible to give every document regarding the money trail,” Raja told the larger bench, which is hearing a slew of petitions against Sharif family’s alleged corruption.
Justice Khosa observed that the issue was not related to dependency of Prime Minister’s daughter Maryam Nawaz but it pertained to the ruling family’s integrity.
The top court judge also observed that there was no document which could show how bearer shares regarding the ownership of London flats were transferred to Sharifs by the Qatari royal family.
It is believed that the outcome of the case is make or break for Sharif ahead of election due next year.