ISLAMABAD: With the Supreme Court set to resume hearing of the Panamagate case on Wednesday (today), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan conceded before the court on Tuesday that he had purchased a flat in London at Draycott Avenue in 1983 for 117,000 pounds he had earned outside Pakistan as a professional cricketer.

But the property was sold in 2003 to buy Banigala land in Islamabad, he said in a rejoinder submitted to the court.

Mr Khan said that since the UK property was undertaken through solicitors, he was advised to place it in the name of a juridical entity, though he would remain its sole beneficial owner.

The reply was submitted through his counsel Naeem Bokhari in response to a petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lea­der Hanif Abbasi seeking disqualification of Mr Khan and PTI secretary general Jehangir Tareen for allegedly submitting false declaration to the Election Com­mission of Pakistan (ECP) and concealing assets, inclu­ding the London apartments.

On Wednesday, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali will resume the hearing of the case.

But before taking up Mr Abbasi’s petition, the chief justice will preside over a larger five-judge bench to resume the hearing of the Panamagate case after a gap of 13 days.


Panamagate case hearing resumes today


The last hearing was held on Nov 17 after which the PTI’s lead counsel Hamid Khan bowed himself out of the case.

Later, the party chief announced that the PTI legal team would now be led by Naeem Bokhari and Dr Babar Awan.

Senior advocate Salman Aslam Butt will defend Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while Akram Sheikh will represent the prime minister’s children Maryam, Hussain and Hassan.

Although the PTI is expected to submit more evidence or documents before the commencement of the Panamagate case, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Tuesday furnished a two-page document in the case.

The document is based on a suspicious activity report written by Reporting Officer J. Nizbeth Maduro of the Mossack Fonseca and Co (BVI) Ltd to Errol George, director, Financial Investigation Agency of Virgin Islands.

The report written on June 22, 2012, states that the beneficial owner of the Messrs Nielson Enterprises Ltd and Nescoll Ltd is Maryam Safdar whose address is Saroor Palace, Bazoue al eman st, Ruwais, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The directors of the company are the Minerva Officer Ltd and the Corporate Officer Ltd whose address is P.O. Box 218, 43/45 La Motte Street, St Helier, Jersey, the document states, adding that the companies have a loan account with the Deutsche Bank Geneva.

In her reply Mariam Nawaz had already claimed that she was the trustee and not the beneficial owner of the four London flats registered under the names of the two companies.

At the last hearing of the case, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed had hinted at the presence of suspicious activity report after which Sheikh Rashid had gone to the UK along with Imran Khan.

Meanwhile Imran Khan’s reply in the Abbasi petition alleged that it (the talk about his London flat) was a counterblast to his Panamagate case against the prime minister and his family aimed only at settling personal score.

Mr Abbasi is an accused in the Ephedrine scandal and his role in the construction of Metro Bus Service infrastructure between Islamabad and Rawalpindi is yet to be probed by the National Accountability Bureau, Mr Khan’s rejoinder said. As an opposition member in the National Assembly, he said, he considers it his duty to unmask the rulers since “corruption, nepotism, favouritism, avoidance of merit and refusal to build and strengthen institutions are undermining the nascent plant of democracy”.

Referring to alleged ‘political immaturity of Mr Khan,’ the reply says it is the people of Pakistan to decide.

About the London flat, Mr Khan said that he had incorporated the Niazi Services Limited, the soul asset of which was the London apartment.

In 2002 his wife Jemima Goldsmith, whom he married in 1995 but divorced in June 2004, moved to the UK. Then Mr Khan put up the London apartment for sale with the intent to purchase Banigala land on which the family residence was to be constructed, the rejoinder said. Then the sale price for the flat was pounds715,000 and after deducting costs and expenses of the sale, the net proceeds received were pounds 690,307.

In the interregnum, anticipating an early sale of the London apartment, Mr Khan said, he entered into an agreement for the purchase of land in Banigala on March 13, 2002 for Rs43.5 million.

The purchase price for the Banigala land was payable in instalments. Mr Khan paid Rs6.5 million from his available resources in Pakistan as part payment for the Banigala land.

Since the sale transaction of the London apartment did not complete within the timeframe he had envisaged and the purchase of the Banigala land was potentially in jeopardy, his then wife agreed to lend funds to enable him to pay the instalment within the period agreed in the sale agreement. This short-term loan arrangement between husband and wife was implemented with the understanding that Ms Jemima would be repaid in UK upon completion of the sale of the London apartment from the sale proceeds.

All the funds in foreign exchange remitted from time to time were declared by an authorised dealer to the State Bank of Pakistan, the reply said.

Thereafter subsequent to completion of the sale of the London apartment on March 14, 2003, Mr Khan repaid and returned the equivalent amount to his former wife in UK, it said.

In view of subsequent divorce, the Banigala property was transferred to Mr Khan through a gift on behalf of his wife. Full stamp duty payable on each transfer of the Banigala property initially in favour of Ms Jemima and finally in favour of Imran Khan was paid and deposited with the treasury, the reply stated.

It is a matter of record that the subject investment in the Islamabad property was duly and fully disclosed to the Federal Board of Revenue by Mr Khan in his wealth statement for 2014 and updated figures were also duly disclosed. In addition, the same was also disclosed to the ECP in his statement of assets on June 30, 2015 and in 2016.

Published in Dawn November 30th, 2016

Opinion

Editorial

Elusive deal
Updated 25 Mar, 2023

Elusive deal

The cost of ineptitude in dealing with the IMF will be brutal.
Orwellian schemes
Updated 25 Mar, 2023

Orwellian schemes

THE proposed task force to police social media for ‘anti-army’ content is a bad idea, simply because such vague...
Covid-19 on the rise
25 Mar, 2023

Covid-19 on the rise

IN a development that ought to be watched closely by the authorities, Covid-19 infections saw a sudden increase in a...
Delayed polls
Updated 24 Mar, 2023

Delayed polls

It is nothing less than a tragic betrayal of the people by the ECP.
Targeted killings
24 Mar, 2023

Targeted killings

DISTURBING echoes of a violent past have re-emerged in Karachi, and experience tells us that swift action is...
TB prevention
24 Mar, 2023

TB prevention

IF Pakistan is to achieve the target of effectively ending the tuberculosis epidemic in the country by 2035, as...