PTI files comprehensive ToRs

WEB DESK :After Supreme Court ordered the parties to submit their terms of reference (ToRs), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), a lead petitioner in the case, submitted its ToRs on Thursday for the proposed judicial commission that will hold a probe into the Panama leaks.

PTI filed ToRs in pursuance of directives of a 5-member larger bench led by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali who is hearing PTI’s and other petitioners’ pleas, seeking Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members disqualification from Parliament on grounds of alleged involvement in Panama Papers.

A comprehensive ToRs prepared by PTI counsel Hamid Khan have proposed to look into the titles of flats 16, 16-A, 17 and 17-A, Avenfield House, Park Lane, London.

Dividing the ToRs into three categories, the counsel said the proposed commission has to examine;

(i) when were Nescoll Limited and Nielson Enterprises Ltd, British Virgin Island Companies set up?

(ii) Who were the original recorded beneficial owners of these Companies? When did Ms. Maryam Nawaz (Safdar) become the beneficial owner of these two companies?

(iii) At what price was Flat No 17 purchased on 01.06.1993? How was the amount transferred out of Pakistan or from any other country? What was the source of this foreign exchange?

(iv) At what price were Flats No 16 and 16-A purchased on 31.07.1995? How was the amount transferred out of Pakistan or from any other Country? What was the source of this foreign exchange?

(v) At what price was Flat No 17-A purchased on 23.07.1996? How was the amount transferred out of Pakistan or from any other Country? What was the source of this foreign exchange?

(vi) What was the total amount of income tax paid by Mian Nawaz Sharif from tax year 1981/82 till 23.07.1996?

(vii) Prima facie the four flats in London had been acquired between 01.06.1993 and 23.07.1996, whether Respondent No 1 made a false statement on the floor of the National Assembly on 16.05.2016, (Page 98 of Paper Book 1)? Whether the statement that Azizia Steel Mills were sold in June 2005 for 17 Million Dollars which was the sources from which London Flats were purchased a false statement? Whether by making such a patently false statement the Respondent No 1 is not truthful, honest, Sadiq or Ameen? Whether Respondent No 1 would be liable to be disqualified as a Member of the National Assembly?

In the second category of ‘Gulf Steel Mills in Dubai’, Hamid Khan submitted that Mian Nawaz Sharif in his speech on the floor of the house asserted that since Ittefaq Foundry was nationalised in 1972, therefore his father went to Dubai and established a Steel Mill there which was sold in April 1980 for Nine Million dollars.

Hamid Khan raised a number of questions ie (i) Who were the partners in the company which set up Gulf Steel Mills? (ii)What was Respondent No 1’s shareholding in the Gulf Steel Mills? (iii) If the foreign exchange had not been transferred out of Pakistan, what was the source of funds for setting up Gulf Steel Mills? (iv) To whom the Gul Steel Mills was sold in April 1980 for 9 million dollars? (v) What was Respondent No 1’s share out of these 9 million dollars allegedly received from the sale of the Steel Mills in Dubai? (vi) Was any wealth tax paid on 9 million dollars by Respondent No 1?

In the third category, he asked about ‘Azizia Steel Mills Jeddah’, and put forth the following questions: (i) What was Respondent No 1’s shareholding in Azizia Steel Mills Jeddah? (ii) It is stated that Azizia Steel Mills was allegedly sold in June 2005 for 17 million dollars. Whether the Respondent No 1 upon his return to Pakistan declared his share in the 17 million dollars in any tax return? (iii) Did Respondent No 1 gift this amount to his children and if so, in what proportion?

Hamid Khan submitted that statement of assets / liabilities of Mian Nawaz Sharif’s wealth tax statement submitted on 21.01.2013, Maryam Nawaz (Safdar) is shown as dependent to whom unspecified land worth Rs 324,851,526 has been transferred.

“But Maryam Nawaz as dependent of Mian Nawaz Sharif is also the beneficial owner of Nescol Limited and Nielson Enterprises Ltd as established from Panama Leak Papers (pages 37 / 38). Whether Mian Nawaz Sharif did wilfully conceal the assets (Mayfair Flats) in his wealth statement and filed a false return of assets in the name of his dependent,” Hamid Khan said.

The PTI lawyer said that Mian Nawaz Sharif filed Income Tax returns on 9.10.2012 (for 2012) 21.11.2011 (for 2011) and 30.10.2010, but submitted wealth statements for these years on 21.3.2013 and 22.3.2013 without paying the mandatory penalty prescribed by Section 182 (1).

He added that the maximum penalty not paid by Mian Nawaz Sharif was Rs 555,780 for the year 2012 Rs 556,117 for the year 2011 and Rs 503,245 for the year 2010. Hamid Khan asked whether this late filing of wealth statement without paying the prescribed penalty rendered Mian Nawaz Sharif ineligible in terms of Article 62(1)(d),(e) and (f).

He said that “it is a recorded fact that the income tax on agricultural income for Assessment year 2010-11 due on 30.09.2010 was paid on 22.03.2013,( after 30 months of its due date), for Assessment year 2011-12 payable by 30.09.2011 was paid on 22.03.2013 after 18 months of its due date and for assessment year 2012-13, the due date was 30.09.2012 but tax was paid on 22.03.2013. Whether the same attracts Article 63 (1) of the Constitution”.

Hamid Khan asked, “Whether the remittance from son Hussain Nawaz of US $ 1,914,054/-, € 40,000/- and PKR 5,917,168/-, as asserted in Statement of Assets and Liabilities on 30.06.2013 (page 55) can be treated as a gift when Hussain Nawaz does not have a National Tax Number? Whether such purported income in the hands of Respondent No 1 and was therefore chargeable to income tax which has not been paid rendering him a tax defaulter”.

The PTI counsel further said that in the wealth statement for the tax year 2011 Mian Nawaz Sharif claimed (at page 76) to have gifted Rs 31, 700,000/- to daughter Ms. Maryam Safdar and Rs 19,459,440/- to his son Hussain Nawaz (the same son who had ostensibly remitted Rs 20 crores from abroad).

“Since these transfers called gifts were not through crossed cheques, therefore they did not qualify as admissible gifts and remained income in the hands of Respondent No 1. Whether he was / is liable to pay income taxes? Whether he is a defaulter for not paying due income tax?,” Hamid Khan asked.

Hamid Khan further said that whether Hussain Nawaz is required to produce statements of accounts of his business or other relevant documents in the UK or elsewhere to establish huge profits from which he could spare around US Dollars 2,000,000 annually to be paid to his father?

“Whether payments received from Hussain Nawaz annually would establish money laundering in the absence of evidence of legitimate income earned abroad by Hussain Nawaz after payment of due taxes there,” Hamid Khan added.

Citing the Capitalism’s Achilles Heel: Dirty Money & How to Renew the Free Market System by Raymond W Baker published in 2005, Hamid Khan asked whether Mian Nawaz Sharif has taken any step or action against the author or Rehman Malik, for making the following assertions and conclusions (Page 164):

“At least $ 160 Million pocketed from a contract to build a highway from Lahore, his home town, to Islamabad, the nation’s capital. At least $ 140 Million in unsecured loans from Pakistan’s state banks. More than 60 Million generated from government rebate on sugar exported by mills controlled by Mr. Sharif and his business associates.

At least $ 58 Million skimmed from inflated prices paid for imported wheat from the United States and Canada. In the wheat deal, Mr. Sharif’s government paid prices far above market value to a private company owned by a close associate of his in Washington, the record shows. Falsely inflated invoices for the wheat generate tens of millions of dollars in cash.”

Hamid Khan attached statements of Captain Muhammad Safdar (retd) terming them a false statement of assets & liabilities. He raised two questions ; “(i)Whether the admitted non-disclosure of beneficial ownership of Mayfair Flats No 16, 16-A, 17 and 17-A, by his wife Maryam Nawaz (Safdar) renders him ineligible to remain a member of the National Assembly?

(ii)Whether the admitted non-disclosure of Rs 31,700,000/- received by his wife ostensibly as a gift being an asset of his spouse renders him ineligible to remain a Member of the National Assembly?”

The PTI counsel urged the Commission to decide eligibility of Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar after probing the fact that whether the statement of Ishaq Dar which admits money laundering, opening fake/ benami accounts in Citibank Lahore, Emirates Bank Lahore, Atlas Investment Bank Lahore, Al-Baraka Bank, Al-Tawfeeq Investment Bank etc would render him ineligible to be and/or remain a Member of the Parliament.

Source : Business Recorder