JIT to hire services of UK-based firm to conduct forensic audit of documents


ISLAMABAD: The Joint Investigation Team constituted by the Supreme Court for investigating the offshore financial assets of the prime minister and his family have decided on Monday to hire the services of a UK-based firm for forensic audits to authenticate the information provided by the ruling family about their property in London.

Media reports have confirmed that Bilal Rasool, who is the executive director Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and a member of the JIT  has been tasked to look for an appropriate firm for the purpose.

The JIT in its seventh meeting at its secretariat in the Federal Judicial Academy decided that the JIT would only consider authenticated and certified copies of relevant record as ‘admissible evidence’. The decision was reached after the JIT members scrutinised the 17-year-old Hudabiya Paper Mills and other related records submitted by the National Accountability Bureau. The records were non-certified.

The JIT issued a letter to the FBR on Friday seeking detailed and certified tax returns of the prime minister. The JIT is currently working ot finalise a questionnaire, which would be sent to individuals named in the case, including the Qatari prince and PM’s cousin Tariq Shafi. The questionnaire needs to be finalized before May 22 and also needs to be endorsed by the top court’s three-judge special bench for the implementation of the Panamagate verdict. The special bench will hold its hearing on May 22 where the JIT would inform it about the progress in the ongoing investigation.

After approval,  the questionnaire will be sent through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistani missions abroad to the relevant persons.

The JIT members also reviewed asset statements filed by the prime minister and his son-in-law for the period between 2013 and 2016 by the Election Commission of Pakistan. It was also decided that in a span of one week, the JIT would write to the Foreign Office to contact foreign countries to obtain certified records of the Sharif family’s properties and offshore companies.