Panamagate JIT head Wajid Zia records statement in Flagship reference against Nawaz

Published October 15, 2018
Nawaz Sharif leaves accountability court where a hearing of a corruption reference against him was held. — Screengrab DawnNewsTv
Nawaz Sharif leaves accountability court where a hearing of a corruption reference against him was held. — Screengrab DawnNewsTv

Panamagate joint investigation team (JIT) head Wajid Zia recorded his statement in the Flagship corruption reference against ousted premier Nawaz Sharif before an accountability court on Monday.

Zia, in today's hearing, told the court that he was nominated by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) after the Supreme Court ordered the formation of a JIT to investigate the Panama Papers case.

The top court had ordered the JIT to probe the ownership of Flagship Investments, as well as the source of the money used to set up the company, Zia said.

The investigation team was also supposed to find out if Nawaz's sons, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, were his dependants in 1989-1990, he added.

The JIT wrote to United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities to request Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) and received a response from the latter, Zia said.

He then submitted the statement of Sharif's cousin Tariq Shafi in the court. Nawaz's counsel Khawaja Haris, however, objected and said that the statement was inadmissible in the case as Shafi was neither a suspect nor a witness in the case.

Haris also pointed out that Shafi's statement was not verified as is required by law and could not be submitted as testimony.

Zia said that it would take two to three days to submit complete evidence in the case.

The hearing was adjourned for half an hour. Sharif, who was in court for the hearing, was allowed to leave.

According to the charge-sheet against the former premier, Nawaz told the JIT that he was a shareholder in 15 companies, including Flagship Invest­ments, Hartstone Properties, Que Holdings, Quint Eaton Place 2, Quint Saloane, Quaint, Flagship Securities, Quint Gloucester Place, Quint Paddington, Flagship Developments, Alanna Services (BVI), Lankin SA (BVI), Chadron, Ansbacher, Coomber and Capital FZE, Dubai.

The court was told that his sons, Hassan and Hussain were his dependents in 1989 and 1990. However, Sharif, submitted a record of assets for Hassan from 1990-1995, the charge-sheet read.

Sharif was indicted in the corruption case last year.

Historic results

While talking to the media on his way out from the accountability court, Sharif said that the results of Sunday's by-polls were a first in history.

"The public has given us a bigger victory than we expected," he said. "Such a [victory] in first 50 days of the government is a first in history."

He said that despite the restrictions on the PML-N leadership, people had voted for the former ruling party.

PML-N won 10 out of 35 seats in the by-polls.

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