- PML-N leader denies ownership of London flats, Nielson and Nescoll companies
- Says JIT had an agenda to implicate Sharif family in NAB references ‘by any means whatsoever’
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz on Monday once again distanced herself from the Avenfield properties as well as the British Virgin Islands offshore companies, Nielsen and Nescoll, that were linked to the former premier’s daughter in the Panama Papers.
The Panama Papers released in April 2016 by law firm Mossack Fonseca described Maryam as “the owner of British Virgin Islands-based firms Nielsen Enterprises Limited and Nescoll Limited, incorporated in 1994 and 1993”.
While recording her testimony under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) before the accountability court in the Avenfield reference on Monday, Maryam Nawaz claimed that she never took any financial advantage from these companies. Moreover, she shared that she has nothing to do with 25 per cent shares of Gulf Steel Mills, Al-Taufiq case, and settlement worth Rs12 million.
She challenged the authenticity of a Mossack Fonseca letter dated June 22, 2012, and the financial investigation agencies’ claim that she was the beneficial owner of the offshore companies that owned London properties.
Maryam said that the Panamagate joint investigation team did not produce the original letter, in response to which Mossack Fonseca had stated that Maryam was the beneficial owner of the contentious offshore accounts. “These documents were not certified as required by the applicable law nor were they subjected to cross-examination by me so that I could test the veracity of the contents of these documents,” she said.
Therefore, she stated that the said document could not be used as evidence against her since it would be tantamount to denying her the right to fair trial.
Over this, the NAB prosecutor remarked that Maryam is free to summon the author of the letter before the court for cross-examination. To this, her legal counsel responded that they will have to see if the witness can be summoned or not.
“The documents presented by the prosecution cannot be accepted as evidence. These documents are unrelated for indictment.”
She further remarked that the Capital FZE documents don’t concern her.
She said the filing of corruption references against her was engineered. “It stands aptly demonstrated that the JIT had been striving to implicate the entire family by any means whatsoever. It has been admitted by Wajid Zia that by time of issuance of call notice to me, none of the witnesses examined had delivered a statement against me, nor was any evidence present,” her statement read.
Maryam went on to add how she had been dragged to court despite not finding any mention in the SC verdict delivered on April 20, 2017. “The reason is rooted in the ‘will teach you a lesson’ mindset that has targeted those who stand up to injustice and question the practice of bringing elected PMs to their knees, on one pretext or another,” her statement read.
The Avenfield reference, pertaining to the Sharif family’s London properties, is among three filed against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last year on the Supreme Court’s directives.
‘SPITEFUL JIT CONTRIVED AVENFIELD REFERENCE’:
After filing her statement before the court, Maryam said the JIT had framed the Sharif family in the Avenfield reference out of spite.
“Suffice to say, that the JIT in its venom and quest to implicate me has even resorted to concoct and fabricate evidence against me,” Maryam told journalists.
Maryam said that the forces behind the investigation threaten, harass and victimise those who refuse to accept dictation and who dare to question and stand against injustice.
“I have been dragged into this case,” she said. “I have appeared in court more than 70 times despite the fact that my mother, a cancer patient, desperately needed me.”
She claimed that it had never happened in the 70-year history of Pakistan that a female appeared before the court so many times in such a short span.
“Traditionally, daughters in our society enjoy special status and they are treated as equal but the malice and the ego have compromised this tradition. They have set a precedent of making a daughter as the weakness of her father but I must say I will prove that I am the strength of my father.”