ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday announced a three-judge bench to implement its judgement in the Panama Papers case.
The bench, which will hold its maiden hearing at 1.30pm on Wednesday after normal court timings, will consist of the same judges who handed down the majority judgement in the Panama Papers case: Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan.
The Supreme Court had, by a majority verdict of three to two, ordered the constitution of a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the assets of the incumbent prime minister. Dissenting judges Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed had termed the PM “disqualified” for not being honest before the nation, parliament and the court.
In its April 20 order, the five-judge bench had requested Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar to constitute a special bench to ensure the implementation of the judgement.
There is a strong possibility that the same bench may announce the composition of the six-member JIT, which has been tasked with probing the veracity of allegations, stemming from the Panama Papers, against the prime minister and his children.
Attorney general says Panama Papers case JIT will furnish regular progress reports to the three-judge bench
“I believe that the same bench will also act as the implementation bench to which the JIT will report by furnishing progress reports every two weeks,” Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf told Dawn.
The Supreme Court has already received separate lists of proposed names from the departments concerned to be included in the JIT and the bench is likely to set modalities on how to proceed with the matter.
The names were to be submitted within seven days of the verdict’s announcement.
The judgement had said that the JIT would be headed by a senior officer of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) not below the rank of additional director general. Other members would include a representative of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), a nominee of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) familiar with money laundering and white-collar crimes, an official from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), and a seasoned officer each from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI), to be nominated by their respective directors general.
In its judgement, the Supreme Court had also outlined the scope of the proposed JIT, which had been tasked to investigate: how the Gulf Steel Mills in UAE came into being, what led to its sale, what happened to its liabilities, where did its sale proceeds end up, how did they reach Jeddah, Qatar and the UK, whether Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz in view of their tender ages had the means to possess and purchase the flats, and whether the sudden appearance of the letters of Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani of the Qatar was a myth or a reality.
The court also asked how bearer shares crystallized into the four upscale flats in London, who was the real and beneficial owner of Nielsen Enterprises Limited and Nescoll Limited, how did Hill Metal Establishment come into existence, where did the money for Flagship Investment Limited and other companies set up or taken over by Hassan Nawaz and where did the working capital for such companies come from and where do the huge sums running into millions gifted by Hussain Nawaz to the prime minister drop in from.
The JIT is required to investigate the case and collect evidence over whether the prime minister or any of his dependents or benamidars owns, possesses or has acquired assets or any interest disproportionate to their known means of income.
The prime minister, Hussain and Hassan Nawaz are also required to appear and associate with JIT as and when required.
Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2017