Panama JIT seeks services of British audit firm

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The joint investigation team (JIT) constituted to implement the Supreme Court’s verdict in Panama Papers case has decided to obtain services of a British audit firm, besides seeking record of Sharif’s family tax returns from Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

Sources said the six-member JIT headed by Additional Director General Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Wajid Zia has assigned the task of identifying the audit firm to Bilal Rasool, a senior official who is the member of JIT from Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP). The JIT also decided that it would only accept authenticated documents while some documents submitted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to the JIT are unverified, they added.

They said the JIT also decided to seek record of tax returns of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his sons from FBR and financial statements from SECP from 1985 to 2016. The JIT has decided to write separate letters to FBR and SECP in this regard, they added.

Sources said the JIT had earlier received record of 17-year-old scam of Hudabiya Paper Mills from the NAB as well as asset details of PM Sharif and his son-in-law Captain Muhammad Safdar (Retd) from Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The JIT has started reviewing asset details of Sharif’s family and record provided by the NAB, they added.

The members of JIT include Amir Aziz from State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Bilal Rasool from SECP, Irfan Naeem Mangi from NAB, Brigadier Nauman Saeed from Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Brigadier Kamran Khursheed from Military Intelligence (MI).

The investigation team will submit a progress report after every two weeks to the apex court, while it is also supposed to complete the probe within two months. According to the terms of reference of the JIT, it is mandated to probe the matter in the light of 13 questions which the larger bench had devised while announcing verdict in the Panama Papers case.

The questions include: How did Gulf Steel Mill come into being?; what did lead to its sale?; what did happen to its liabilities?; where did its sale proceeds end up?; how did they (sale proceeds) reach Jeddah, Qatar and the UK?; whether did Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz in view of their tender ages have the means in the early nineties to possess and purchase the flats?; is sudden appearance of the letters of Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani a myth or a reality?; how did bearer shares crystallise into flats; who is, in fact, the real and beneficial owner of M/s 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/taken over by Hassan Nawaz come from 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 Mian Nawaz Sharif drop in from, which go to the heart of the matter? The larger bench had ruled that all these questions needed to be answered. The apex court has already empowered the JIT to summon Prime Minister Sharif and both his sons, as and when required.-Business Recorder

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