- SC had not bound Maryam and Safdar to cooperate with JIT
ISLAMABAD: The joint investigation team (JIT) summoned Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain (r)Muhammad Safdar before it obtained evidence suggesting Maryam was the beneficial owner of the Avenfield apartments, FIA Additional Director Wajid Zia told the accountability court on Thursday.
During the hearing of graft references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, the counsel of Maryam Nawaz, Amjad Pervez, cross-examined the JIT head for his statement in the case.
The JIT head told the court that “the team issued summons to Maryam Safdar prior to obtaining Robert Radley’s report or evidence stating that the former premier’s daughter was the beneficial owner of Avenfield apartments”.
No specific instructions were given by the Supreme Court regarding Maryam and Safdar, Zia told the court, adding that April 4 verdict of the SC had [only] directed former premier Nawaz Sharif, and sons Hussain and Hassan Nawaz to cooperate with the investigation whenever required by the team.
Zia said that Maryam and her husband were summoned on June 25 and 27, prior to the report of Robert Radley pertaining to forged signatures on the trust deeds. Moreover, no witness had mentioned Maryam’s ownership of the flats as well, he added.
JIT head told the court that Maryam and Safdar’s signatures were present on the trust deed of Nelson and Nescol companies and that no witness had termed the trust deed as fake.
He, however, stated that the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) British Virgin Islands letters had been received by that date.
In response to a question, Zia said that UK-based lawyer Jeremy Freeman was not approached by the JIT directly but through Quist Solicitors–a firm of his first cousin Akhtar Raja, which was hired by the JIT for assistance.
In July last year, Zia had reportedly admitted that the British law firm engaged for the JIT’s probe was owned by his cousin but explained that it was done after discussions among team members, in line with apex court’s order and following a clean chit from intelligence agencies.
Meanwhile, harsh words were also exchanged between Amjad Pervez and NAB Prosecutor Afzal Qureshi. The hearing of the case has been adjourned till Friday, 9:30 am.
The SC disqualified Nawaz Sharif from office in July over unreported sources of annual income of about $10,000, a salary the former premier denies ever receiving. The high court had also ordered the NAB to investigate and conduct a trial into the Sharif family’s wider finances, including London properties.
He was also ousted from the presidency of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, which elected close ally Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as prime minister after Sharif was disqualified.