ISLAMABAD - Joint Investigation Team head on Panama Papers Wajid Zia revealed in the accountability court on Friday that British Virgin Islands Financial Investigation Agency and Mozaic Fonseca’s letters did not confirm the role of Maryam Nawaz in the incorporation of Nielson and Nescoll offshore companies.

The confession came when the trial court headed by Muhammad Bashir resumed hearing in the NAB references against the Sharif family.

Earlier, counsel for Maryam filed an application in the trial court seeking an exemption for his client and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from Friday’s hearing, which was accepted. Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar appeared in the court.

Later, Maryam and Safdar’s counsel Amjad Pervaiz cross-questioned Wajid Zia, who told the court that the owner of the Avenfield apartments, who sold the property to Nielson and Nescoll, was not investigated.  On January 17, 2017, he said, Lawrence Radley wrote a letter to Salman Akram Raja, who was representing the former premier in the Panama Papers case in the Supreme Court, about the Avenfield properties.

On this, Pervaiz asked Zia did Radley verify that the off-shore companies purchased Avenfield properties from 1993 and 1996, Zia replied that these flats were purchased in the name of the two companies. Amjad Pervaiz further asked was it correct, according to Radley, that the Sharif family had nothing to do with the purchase of London flats.

On this, Zia replied that according to the letter of Radley, that stance wass correct. He said that flats were purchased in the names of the off-shore companies to hide the identity of the real buyer. He also said that the JIT decided not to investigate Radley.

On this, the defence counsel pointed out that JIT did not investigate Radley to kill the assumption that innocence of the Sharif family could be forthcoming through this. Zia replied that that was not correct.  Pervaiz further asked Ziz, did the JIT get any such documents that proved the role of Maryam in the formation of Nielson and Nescoll companies, he replied that the verification by the British Virgin Islands (BVI) officials and coordination with Financial Investigation Agency and Mozaic Fonseca through letters hinted her role in the incorporation of the firms.

When Zia said that through a letter of December 5, 2005, the role of Maryam in the formation of Nielson and Nescoll could be identified, the defence counsel pointed out that that was not a reply to his question.