Thursday, 27 January 2022

Nawaz denies ownership of London properties


ISLAMABAD: Answering 55 questions of the total 128 queries handed over to him by the trial court in the Avenfield properties reference, Nawaz Sharif denied the ownership of London properties and also detached himself from the Gulf Steal Mills affairs.

At the same time, the ousted premier expressed his serious concerns at all Joint Investigation Team (JIT) members and their impartiality.

The Avenfield reference, pertaining to the Sharif family’s London flats, is among the three references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the light of the Supreme Court verdict in the Panama Papers case.

The ex-PM, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, and son-in-law Capt (r) Muhammad Safdar, had been asked by the trial court through a set of questionnaire to record their final statements in their defence in the references under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Responding to a question regarding his address to the nation and his speech on the floor of the National Assembly, Sharif categorically stated that “I had never claimed before the apex court that I was ever a real or beneficial owner of the Avenfield properties”.

“This is my stance throughout, as much as in the instant case”, the former premier said adding: “I was never involved or associated in any capacity whatsoever in the acquisition of any real or beneficial title of Avenfield properties or providing means or funds for any such acquisition.”

Responding to a question regarding the loan taken to establish Gulf Steel Mills in the UAE, he said that he “was never associated or involved with the setting up of the said mill and had no direct knowledge of the details pertaining to the provisions of finances by which it was set up”.

During his testimony, Nawaz Sharif said that he could not say anything about the documents his son Hussain Nawaz had submitted in the apex court with regard to the London apartments.

In reply to a question relating to forensic expert Robert M Radley, he said that Radley was not a “font expert” and that he had admitted in his statement that the Calibri font was available prior to its launch in 2007.

Answering a question regarding the composition of JIT members, Sharif said that “the JIT was formed only to assist the Supreme Court for disposing of constitution(al) petitions pending before it and the purpose of constituting the JIT exhausted after the Supreme Court passed the order”.

In his reply, he declared the formation of the JIT, its prepared report, conclusions drawn and the recorded opinion as “inappropriate and irrelevant” against him in the Avenfield properties case.

With respect to the JIT members, the former premier expressed his reservations and questioned their impartially.

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