LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau has summoned three members of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted by the Supreme Court to probe the offshore holdings of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his children to record their statements.
“At least three of the six-member JIT, including its head Federal Investigation Agency Additional Director Wajid Zia, have been summoned by the NAB in its Lahore office for Tuesday (today) to record their statements about their investigation into the Panama Papers case,” an official source told Dawn on Monday.
He said after the input of the JIT members, the NAB would finalise filing of four references against the Sharif family early next month.
The other five JIT members are Amer Aziz of the State Bank of Pakistan, Executive Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan Bilal Rasool, NAB Director Irfan Naeem Mangi, Brig Muhammad Nauman Saeed of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Brig Kamran Khurshid of the Military Intelligence (MI).
“The NAB will only summon the ISI and MI investigators if needed after having a session with four other members who include one member of its own organisation,” the source said.
A couple of days ago the Supreme Court’s Monitoring Judge (Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan) allowed the NAB to quiz the JIT members. “All legal requirements and formalities are fulfilled and to avoid any possible lacuna that may damage the case, led the head of the JIT and any other concerned member who had collected the relevant evidence pursuant to the directions passed by this court record their statement before NAB,” said a communication issued by the Supreme Court registrar to Mr Zia.
Justice Ahsan was nominated supervisory judge in line with the directions of the July 28 Panama Papers leaks judgement to monitor and supervise the working of NAB as well as to oversee the proceedings in the accountability court. On Aug 19, NAB had moved an application before the monitoring judge seeking permission to record the statements of the JIT members.
Meanwhile, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has reportedly submitted last 20 years’ tax returns data of Nawaz Sharif, his family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to the NAB.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) have already handed over records of the bank accounts of the Sharif family and its companies to the NAB.
The SECP has also handed over the records of seven companies owned by Mr Dar and his family members to the anti-corruption watchdog.
After recording the statements of the JIT members the NAB may issue third and last summons for Nawaz Sharif, his children and Mr Dar, giving them the last chance to join the investigation.
The NAB has also discussed issuance of arrest warrants for the Sharif family members for failing to appear before it (for third consecutive time). NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry has the prerogative in this respect.
The Sharif family has informed the NAB of their inability to join the investigation, terming it “mere eyewash”.
Besides, the Sharifs and Mr Dar have taken a plea that as a verdict on their review petition against the Supreme Court’s July 28 decision is pending before it, they will only appear before NAB once it is decided.
Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2017